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Best Racing Docs & Film Projects—And Where To Find Them

Racing is one of the oldest sports in the world, dating back to the very first chariot races and foot races of ancient cultures. From the Greeks to the Egyptians, people have always enjoyed moving fast. However, many audiences today are happy to watch the action fly by them, either from the comfort of the stands or from their own couches.

Since the very first international film projects of the 1960s, racing has been a hot topic. In fact, even projects like Within Our Gates and The Symbol of the Unconquered, which both date back to the 1920s, involve major racing scenes. Today, the success of franchises like Fast & the Furious highlights our obsession with cars, motors, and engines (and possibly the notion of family).

But when it comes to racing documentaries and films that were created for actual fans of motor vehicles of all stripes, you’ll need to dig a bit deeper. Keep reading for some of the best projects available today and where you can start watching them now.

Drive to Survive (Netflix)

Let’s make one thing clear about this Netflix series, which first aired in 2019: it’s all about the drama. And any Formula One fan knows that the racing series is inherently dramatic. There are only twenty drivers and only ten manufacturers that will battle it out over a year-long competition—and there are only so many eligible drivers in the world.

Still, if you struggle to follow the latest F1 updates and enjoy seeing Guenther Steiner (leader of the Haas team) wiggle out of difficult losses, then there’s no better coverage of F1. This series is also a great jumping-off point for those who may have stuck to NASCAR in the past but are now interested in a bit of F1 action.

Between the Lines (Various)

The release of Drive to Survive had many consequences—including a huge boost in interest in F1 worldwide. This led to more than a few interesting sponsorship deals, including the PokerStars-Red Bull global partnership, which is now in its second year. To build on this cross-marketing project, there’s now a Between the Lines series from PokerStars and Red Bull.

If you like F1 and poker, this is a great project to dive into. The short video series covers the importance of strategy for the Red Bull team and professional poker players. While it’s just getting started, the first episode, titled ‘Fortune Favors the Brave’, offers a unique spotlight on Red Bull racer Sergio Pérez and his mindset behind the wheel.

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TT3D Closer to the Edge (YouTube)

If you’ve followed various racing topics around the world, then you know about the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race—which is the world’s most dangerous street race in moto history. Narrator Jared Leto does a solid job of guiding the audience through the build-up to the 2010 race, along with introducing some of the world’s fastest and greatest riders.

Specifically, the documentary zeroes in on why each rider enters the race, what motivates them to tackle a challenge that can be dangerous, and why they keep coming back for more. If you’ve ever wanted to get into the head of a thrill-seeker and a moto diehard, then don’t skip this 2011 release.

One by One (YouTube)

So far, we’ve covered F1 extensively. As many fans of racing know, safety has moved to the forefront of all series—and, in particular, F1. Back in 1975, Claude du Boc directed an expose that highlighted just how lethal the racing series could be. Though it’s a heavy topic, the documentary has remained popular because of its usage of old footage, some of which dates back to the first motor races of the 20th century. If you enjoy historical footage, then it’s worth a watch.

The Doctor, the Tornado & the Kentucky Kid (Available to rent)

This documentary goes behind the scenes to capture all of the intrigue and drama of the 2006 MotoGP World Championship. At the time, a bitter rivalry between three riders (Colin Edwards, Nicky Hayden, and Valentino Rossi) had infused the event with endless excitement—and this documentary goes above and beyond to record what made this world championship so unforgettable.

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