Stunt driver who portrayed Niki Lauda in ‘Rush’ killed in car accident

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A veteran racer who portrayed three-time champion Niki Lauda in race driving scenes in last summer’s Formula One film “Rush,” has been killed in a car crash in Italy, according to the Daily Mail in the U.K.

Mauro Pane, 50, served as the primary stunt driving double for actor Daniel Bruhl, who portrayed Lauda in the film directed by Ron Howard.

Police discovered the bodies of Pane and an unidentified female in a submerged Renault in a canal near Gambolo in northern Italy, near Milan, according to the Daily Mail report.

An accomplished race car driver, Pane previously served as a test driver for the Minardi F1 team. He also won the 2008 Historic Formula One Championship in a six-wheeled Tyrrell P34.

Classic Grand Prix, the company that supplied the historic racing cars for “Rush” said in a statement, “We are devastated to have to announce the tragic death of one of our own, Mauro Pane. Racer, engineer, champion and a fantastic friend. RIP.”

Pane becomes the second driver associated with “Rush” to die in the last four months.

Sean Edwards, 26, died last Oct. 15 in a high-speed crash at Australia’s Queensland Raceway in Brisbane. Edwards was a passenger in a Porsche that lost control, crashed through a tire barrier and burst into flames. The driver, Will Holzheimer, is since recovering. per the Australian Courier Mail.

In “Rush,” Edwards portrayed his father Guy, a former F1 driver who pulled Lauda out of his burning Ferrari after a near-fatal crash at Germany’s Nurburgring in 1976.

Rush won Best Editing honors Sunday in the 62nd annual BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Film Awards in London. The movie had been nominated for four awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Bruhl (as Lauda) and Best British Film.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.