Last week, it was announced that a film is in the pipeline about 5-time 500cc MotoGP champion Mick Doohan, who retired in 1999. Hollywood star Johnny Depp will take the lead role in the biopic.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest MotoGP riders of all time, Australian Doohan began his motor racing career in 1989 riding for Honda. He won his first championship in 1994, winning each one in the 500cc category for the next 5 years.
Two major accidents in his career would ultimately lead to Doohan’s retirement – the first in 1992 when, ahead of the Dutch MotoGP, he suffered permanent and serious damage to his right leg.
In 1999 Doohan had another accident, during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix. He again broke his leg in several places and subsequently announced his retirement.
There have been documentaries on several figures in motorsport, most notably among them Senna, and film adaptations such as Ron Howard’s Rush, which chronicled Niki Lauda and James Hunt.
Here we take a look at 10 legends in motorsport who deserve to have films made on their lives and careers.
#1 Gilles Villeneuve
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Villeneuve Sr. needs his own movie because he is considered as the greatest driver to never win a world championship. He was well known for his intense rivalry with his teammate Didier Pironi.
He impressed on his Formula One debut in 1977, where he qualified 9th between his first teammates James Hunt and Jochen Mass despite the fact that he was on the older McLaren M23 and Hunt and Mass were in the faster M26 car.
A year later, he was let go by the British team only to be baited by Ferrari. Though his Ferrari debut wasn’t exactly spectacular, the team insisted on keeping him. He rewarded their faith in him with a victory in Canada thereby being the first Canadian driver to win his home race, a title he holds to this day; even his son Jacques could not achieve that feat.
The 1979 French Grand Prix was famous for the duel between Villeneuve and René Arnoux for 2nd. Another notable achievement was during a soggy practice session in the United States Grand Prix where he was 11 seconds faster than the entire field!
Sadly, his untimely demise in 1982 during the qualifying session of the Belgian Grand Prix came as a big blow to the Formula One world. Villeneuve’s rivalry with Pironi is definitely worthy of depiction on the big screen.
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