‘Drive Like Andretti’ documentary to be shown at SXSW

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NBC Sports Films will preview “Drive Like Andretti” at SXSW on Monday, March 11. Featuring a panel that includes Mario Andretti and Will Power, this will be a first glimpse at the documentary detailing the life of one of auto racing’s most iconic heroes.

The show is a first-person account of Andretti’s life as a war refugee, immigrant, cultural icon and racing legend. Among his legendary accomplishments was the winning of the 1969 Indy 500, part of a trilogy of accomplishments never done before or since. Andretti is the only driver to win the Indy 500, NASCAR’s Daytona 500 (in 1967) and a Formula 1 championship (1978)

“Drive Like Andretti” will make its television debut Saturday, May 11 at 2 p.m. ET pm NBC leading into coverage of the IndyCar Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The documentary features interviews with celebrities across the breadth of entertainment including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ice-T, Ludacris, Tim Allen and former Tonight Show host Jay Leno.

“When you do the Tonight Show, you don’t really meet Batman,” Leno said. “You meet the guy who plays Batman or the guy who plays Superman. When you meet Mario Andretti, you meet the guy who won the Indy 500 – who won Formula 1. You know: It was impressive.”

“With our inaugural presentation of the Indianapolis 500 this May, we wanted to tell a story that would connect audiences to the great history of that race,” said Mark Levy, Senior Vice President, Original Productions and Creative, NBC Sports Group in a release. “The result was ‘Drive Like Andretti’, a compelling first-person account of Mario Andretti’s improbable immigrant journey and an exploration of how his victory at the 1969 Indianapolis 500 helped make the name Andretti synonymous with speed in America. We think racing fans and non-racing fans alike will love this story and appreciate what Mario accomplished, on and off the track.”

NBC Sports will preview Drive Like Andretti at SXSW in Austin at the Comcast NBCU House at Container Bar. The event will feature a preview of the documentary, followed by a panel discussion with Andretti, 2018 Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power, and NBC Sports’ Leigh Diffey surrounding the documentary and the upcoming Indianapolis 500.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.