Famous drivers - Steve McQueen

  • Steve McQueen in his Jaguar XKSS
  • McQueen in his Lotus 11 race car
  • McQueen in Porsche 908 at  12 Hours of Sebring race
  • At the set of "Le Mans" 1971

Steve McQueen (1930–1980) was American actor and race car driver famous for his performance in 28 movies which almost all are considered classics and for his racing efforts in various classes in motorcycle,sportscars and off road races. His interesting persona, roles of lovable, anti hero characters and racing backround earned him a nick name “King of Cool“ which stands even today. He was one of the first popular actors to turned to racing and his track career started in 1958 with amateur events in lower ranks.

 

The movie career started first but racing followed soon

In 1959 McQueen purchased his first proper race car – Lotus 11 which he raced extensively and achieve podium finishes in SCCA championship. During the sixties, he participated in lot of races with different cars such as Austin Healey or Porsche 365 Carrera. In a same time, he entered some motorcycle events with his Triumph bike.

 

McQueen in his Lotus 11 race car

McQueen in his Lotus 11 race car

 

Success on screen was bigger than on the race track

As one of Hollywood’s top paid actors, McQueen did not had time to fully concentrate on racing but at the end of the sixties, he become attracted to endurance racing and trough his production company bought a Porsche 908 racing car. In 1970, he participated in several races, winning smaller SCCA National Holtville event and achieving second place at 12 Hours of Sebring. That year, McQueen was at the 24 Hours of LeMans but his Porsche 917 was not accepted to race and he was faced with demands from his producers not to enter.

 

McQueen in Porsche 908 at  12 Hours of Sebring race

McQueen in Porsche 908 at 12 Hours of Sebring race

 

“Le Mans” movie and end or racing efforts

However, during 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans, McQueen’s 908 was used to act as a camera car for his upcoming racing movie Le Mans which is a definitive racing flick. After the interesting 1970 season and 1971 premiere of Le Mans, McQueen was faced with money problems since the movie was not as profitable as expected and his racing activities were very expensive. So after the 1970 he turned back to acting to improve his finances. Towards the end of his life, McQueen never raced again and on that level but remained a active cars and motorcycle collector and enthusiast. At the moment of his passing he had 221 motorcycle, 55 cars and 5 airplanes.

 

At the set of "Le Mans" 1971

At the set of “Le Mans” 1971

 

McQueen was a very talented driver with enormous passion and energy. During his racing career he proved that he is very fast without much training or experience. Some critics said that McQueen did not had a level of concentration needed to achieve first place finishes and he often pushed too hard resulting a mechanical failure. But nobody can deny that Steve McQueen was a good driver with courage and talent who understand races, and in a short period of time, lived for it. His passion almost took him to the verge of bankruptcy but that gamble produced a greatest racing movies of all times by one the greatest actors of all times and established a legend of Steve McQueen.

 

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