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11 Hollywood heroes who felt the need for speed

He’s played X-Men’s Magneto and Shakespeare’s Macbeth, but Michael Fassbender’s toughest role yet was behind the wheel of a Mk2 Ford Escort on the Rally of the Lakes in Ireland. Fassbender—or “Fastbender,” as it says on his race suit—is a tidy driver on the track, and he’s got a win in the 2018 Ferrari Challenge North America and a season of Porsche Super Sports Cup to prove it. Rallying, however, would prove to be a very different and steep learning curve for the Irish-German actor.


Watch Fassbender in action on the Vero channel, and then check out ten other Hollywood heroes who have felt the need for speed below.


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Replies (26)

Replies (26)

Great article, but please stop referring to actors and sports figures as heroes.

A hero is some who would, or did give his life to save another.


Why should any of these men be considered a hero?


Robert Carradine raced Shelby Dodges in the 80’s in numerous SCCA and IMSA events.


Hey what about James Garner's International Racing Team that campaigned ten 1969 Rambler Scramblers, some converted to 4X4, and won the Baja 500 in 1969 (also 3rd & 5th). You mention Broncos, Oldsmobiles and Meyers Manx, but as usual, AMC is ignored.

New Driver

In the 90s I sometimes shared trailer and pit space at Willow Springs with Marsha Mason. She was really impressive on the SCCA GT3 circuit and if I recall correctly raced for 6 or 7 years, in an competitive RX7.  Golden Globe awards, Oscar nominations, and some checkered flags! I think she qualifies. 


What about Craig T. Nelson? Check his bonafides.



You left out Marty Robbins who raced in NASCAR along the likes of Richard Petty.


First I agree with others here, no one in Hollywood deserves to be called a hero,......except maybe WWII bomber pilot Jimmy Stewart. 


Lorenzo Lamas, Dickie Smothers and Tim Allen are all also worthy of mention in any list of Hollywood racer/motorheads. I will say that I'm glad you didn't include Tom Cruise, who was so bad during his time driving Bob Sharp Datsuns, that it was suggested that the SCCA should change their name from the Sports Car Club of America, to "See Cruise Crash Again".



My wife Tiffany's dad, "J Ward" created Rocky and Bullwinkle and many others, was a Hollywood car guy. Had the first Porsche Turbo. Fact, it was stolen the first week from Hollywood Park's parking lot, while he was watching his horse race.     Jim.

Pit Crew

It’s almost not fair to include McQueen in this group. He was supporting himself with the income from his success at racing motorcycles at the beginning of his acting career.

Perhaps most notable amongst his racing accomplishments was his being selected to participate as a member of Team USA in the 1964 ISDT event where any success he had achieved in acting would have carried no weight at all. We’re it not for McQueen’s stardom, he likely would instead be thought of as the racer turned actor.

Pit Crew

How are any of these men to be considered a hero?


Gene Hackman’s #97 is currently undergoing restoration in Ohio. 



Going a bit farther back, let's not forget Tim Considine and Jackie Cooper.


Jason Priestly, gave him his first novice trophy at a Rally Sprint in SoCal in a borrowed Honda CRX. In retrospect it sure looked like him, but the name was different. 


Good article except for the word "heroes".

We have very few heroes in our society and it is an inaccurate term used too much.


TV Tommy Ivo of drag racing fame .

New Driver

Brian O'Connor and his Skyline. My all-time favorite. Legend.


You left out Marty Robbins who raced in NASCAR.


Oh hell, on Saturday night after they opened the pits and the kids would come down from the stands for autographs we were hairy chested hero race car drivers. Relax and let us have our fantasy.

Intermediate Driver

i may get roasted for this. IMO. Big diff between guys who raced 1st and then got acting gigs.  Then guys who got character roles as racers,  then started racing,  both to promote there street cred as a bonifided car racers...

  and to look like they really are similar to the character they played in 1 or more movie roles,  involving fast cars,  or the perception of fast cars,  while sporting a whole 250hp 4 cyl ' muscle cars '. ( j/k)


Some of these guys, say had they became something like "famous pilots",  instead of racers, 

  if say ... there 1st role in a car related movie..

was or was not..  a Top Gun character type.


And then.....Above them all.

There is McQueen,  Newman, & a few others.  They are the real deal.  When you sleep in your shop so u dont hav a house or apt rent,  & need that extra money going into your racing budget to get on the track more often...things like that..

Who guys who never wrk in Hollywood do every day ..then & now.. just to race...I know I did..


U might be a real racer & a movie actor. 

When ur a millionaire though,

 and decided you wanna play race car driver.. & ok..maybe u can even actually drive.


Heck.  I know literally 100s of great drivers across drag racing , off road,  scca, circle trk dirt and asphalt.. that can drive well & got no Hollywood money to support the racing.


if these guys had Hollywood actor money,  they would hav gotten much more famous as race car drivers,  than they ever did,  or will.


People with REAL TALENT FOR DRIVING im speaking of.


but just didnt hav enough money to bk up there race program.


even when sleeping/living in there shops..  no motels.  Sleeping in car hauler.. on Sleeping bag..


& .. ...yeah... i clearly got an axe...

< grinding as i type>

Cuz i lived in my shop.  Slept in many traikers at track.


Tk showers at the gym every morning livin in my shop. 

  My dog even lived w/me .  It sorta Sucked having girl friends over.


But id DO  IT  ALL  AGAIN  if I could...&  be that younger me wouldnt,


& could giv it all another go...

..but 2 bk surgery's, 1 heart attack..

and an extremely major concussion... ...later..  takes its toll.


There's racers. & then Race drivers.

Then there are the real deal guys.

McQueen is clearly at the top of the list IMO. 

Frank Bullitt himself.  Period.. 


Ok.. go ahead & roast away..

I can take it.

I know what real racers look like,  and what they will do to get a car to the starting line.  Its far more than most people have ever sacrificed in there adult lives..IMO...


HUSQVARNA's & S550 Bullitt Stangs. ( Steve would love today)

Wish McQueen was alive today

too see a factory A/C car, w/

480hp w/3-36 warranty, n Naturally Aspirated,  @under $50k,

w/mag ride suspension,

6 spd gear box,

& Digital Fuel Injection ...


& pretty darn comfy interior- w' or w/o Recaro's as option..


He likely be the 1st of the group to jump in 1, physically or at least mentally, @ 90,

In say a Bullitt,

or on a Vintage Husky...& ride off.


& Id bet u never see him for days after he roasted the Michelin's out onto the street.

Or he'd wanna be out right now,

on the last of the real,  vintage '80s, Huskys or Husaberg's. 

 Choppin @ the

'Whoops of San Felipe' ,

on a 500cc open class bike like

"10 fins of Fury",  as I type..


Cuz he is that guy getting ready for a vintage race somewhere,  Id say..if alive...& body wrking....

@90 yrs old,  or not... 


RIP to all these men,  who clearly would not wanna be called Hero's,  nor were they Hero's.. to my knowledge...   maybe Im wrong.


  I Thk at least Steve & Gene served there countries,   no??  Without having to disrespect its flag, or anthem,   to my knowledge.   


 Any other service men on list?  Cuz if there not Hero's,  certainly  @ least deserve a thanks,  for serving the nation by their military service.   Id say.


Many on this list,  we can agree,

are either good & or great drivers.

..riders..,  pilots of racecars and  bikes.

Ok..  roast me..

 i can take it . LoL

New Driver

I was expecting to see Gary Cooper and Clark Gable side by side on Mulholland in their Duesenberg SSJs.


Actors and speed drivers but not hero’s


In 1986, I had the honor of being employed as a "fly in guy" for Peerless Racing, which at the time was campaigning a GT-O class Camaro. One of our competitors was the famous Mr. Newman, who would occasionally retreat to our hauler to escape the hordes at the Planters Peanuts Nissan pit. He was a genuinely nice human being first and foremost, and just wanted to be regarded as a capable race car driver. Another visitor we used to shelter was the then-Bruce Jenner. I once loaned him a Peerless crew shirt so he could get some lunch in peace at Laguna Seca. Fun times, great people. And then there was the time I got to chat with Dan Gurney when we were racing at Del Mar...

Intermediate Driver

Richard  Smothers - Formula Ford in the 70's


ahhh, Fankie Muniz? 

New Driver

I noticed that the list didn't include Tom Cruise. Just curious of why.