Are There Any Real Race Car Drivers in Ferrari Movie?

Michael Mann’s biographical film ‘Ferrari’ ends with the depiction of the 1957 Mille Miglia, in which Enzo Ferrari’s race car drivers compete against the drivers of Maserati. The engrossing race sequences feature several race cars competing against one another for the championship with Enzo eagerly awaiting the result to find out the future of his company. Mann, who competed in the Ferrari Challenge for amateur racers for several years, shot the scenes with utmost authenticity. Therefore, one can’t help but wonder whether any real or professional race car drivers were involved in the making of the film as one of the drivers!

The Race Car Drivers in Ferrari

Michael Mann shot the race sequences with stunt drivers. No professional race car drivers feature in the film either as drivers or any other characters. However, Patrick Dempsey is an exception. The actor, who plays the racing driver Piero Taruffi, drove a racing car himself for the film. “He [Dempsey] did a fantastic job. All I had to do was turn him loose and put cameras on him. He was so capable that I actually had him listed on the stunt team,” stunt coordinator Robert Nagle told IndieWire. Dempsey is a professional race car driver who has participated in series like 24 Hours of Le Mans, Rolex Sports Car Series, FIA World Endurance Championship, etc.

Dempsey also owns a racing car team named Dempsey Racing and was part of the Porsche AG team multiple times in the Porsche Supercup series. In the film, he drove the replicas of the actual cars that were used back in 1957. “It was quite terrifying. Driving a modern car you have a roll cage, but there was no cage with these cars. That is the beauty of it, that is the addiction of it, that is what is hard to give up. It is a calm exhilaration. That is how we should be living,” Dempsey told the reporters while attending a press event.

Dempsey’s performance was nothing short of impressive. “He [Dempsey] was as capable, if not more capable, than all of our stunt drivers in executing these very precise maneuvers,” Erik Messerschmidt, the cinematographer of the film, told The Washington Post. Dempsey was the only major actor who really drove in the film. The others had to undergo training to “imitate” driving the race cars. “We train them to a level where they feel confident on camera, so they can drive the car with authority and there’s no tell that they’re not actually that capable,” Nagle added to IndieWire.

The film opens with Adam Driver’s Enzo taking part in a race. In reality, the actor didn’t race at all. “They were the scariest things on set, but they wouldn’t let me drive the cars for insurance reasons,” he told the press. Still, he had a closer look at the experience of racing. “We raced some contemporary Ferraris in Modena. And then I drove one of the chassis of one of the cars and you are immediately aware of how dangerous they are,” Driver said while appearing on Good Morning America.

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