Actors who are also racing drivers

Dating back to Steve McQueen, Hollywood's A-list has long loved fast cars

LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: Actor Michael Fassbender, from Team Proton Competition, attends the 24 Hours of Le Mans race on June 11, 2022 in Le Mans, France. (Photo by Marc Piasecki/WireImage)
Michael Fassbender, from Team Proton Competition, at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, 2022. (Marc Piasecki/WireImage)

Michael Fassbender took part in the Le Mans 24 hour race this weekend, crashing his Porsche 911 on Sunday, cutting short his six hour stint in the car.

Fassbender has long been a motor racing enthusiast but he is far from the first Hollywood superstar to get behind the wheel of a race car and compete. It's a trend that goes back decades with the likes of Steve McQueen and Paul Newman even financing their own teams.

Read more: Michael Fassbender crashes out of 24 Hours of Le Mans race

Given the dangers that come with racing, we don't see that many stars live out their ambitions of getting behind the wheel but below, we have listed ten of Hollywood's biggest stars who have fancied themselves as the next Michael Schumacher.

Brad Pitt

PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 24: Brad Pitt onstage while David Fincher receives the
Brad Pitt is racing in Silverstone for scenes that will appear in his new Apple TV+ Formula 1 movie. (Getty Images)

With a new Formula 1 movie on his radar, Brad Pitt is taking to the race track in Silverstone in order to film scenes for his upcoming project.

The actor will be racing during the British Grand Prix weekend, though the actor is said to be racing along the track alone and in a modified car designed by Lewis Hamilton, who is also working on the production.

Per the BBC, Hamilton said of the film: "It is massively exciting to know it is all coming together and we are starting to film this weekend.

"It's nerves because we have been working on it for so long and we want people to love it and [think that] we captured what the essence of the sport is all about."

Michael Fassbender

An under the radar entrant into this year's Le Mans as part of a Porsche team, Michael Fassbender has long been vocal about being a racing fan, frequently appearing on the grid of Formula 1 races.

He actually made his Le Mans debut last year and has been racing professionally since 2021, winning one race, and scoring seven podium finishes.

Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen, 12 Hours of Sebring, Sebring, 21 March 1970. Hollywood star Steve McQueen during the 1970 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race. (Photo by Bernard Cahier/Getty Images)
Steve McQueen during the 1970 12 Hours of Sebring race. (Bernard Cahier/Getty Images)

The king of cool lived out his love of racing on screen in films like Le Mans and Bullitt but McQueen also raced cars and bikes in real life. He performed in a number of racing genres such as touring cars and 12 hour endurance racing.

McQueen famously finished second to Formula One world champion Mario Andretti at the 1970 12 Hours of Sebring.

Paul Newman

Actor-turned-race car driver Paul Newman is seen in his racing gear at Lime Rock Park racetrack in Lime Rock, Conn., in September 1983. (AP Photo)
Paul Newman raced cars. (AP Photo)

A racing enthusiast his entire life, Paul Newman competed professionally well into his 80s and competed in the Le Mans in 1979, finishing first in his class.

Newman also set up his own racing team that competed in the Canadian-American Challenge Cup. The Cool Hand Luke actor also competed in the SCCA National Championships in four different decades.

Patrick Dempsey

30 January 2011: Actor/driver Patrick Dempsey celebrates his first podium finish, Rolex 24 at Daytona, Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL (Photo by Brian Cleary/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Patrick Dempsey celebrating his first podium finish, Rolex 24 at Daytona. (Getty Images)

As well as being McDreamy on Grey's Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey is also something of a world class racer. Like fellow actors McQueen and Newman, Dempsey has driven for Porsche and finished third at the 24 Hours at Daytona in 2011. He has also entered Le Mans four times, finishing a best of second in his class in 2015.

Rowan Atkinson

CHICHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 15:  Actor Rowan Atkinson sits in his car after the St. Mary's trophy during the Goodwood Revival 2012 on September 15, 2012 in Chichester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
Rowan Atkinson at Goodwood Festival. (Getty Images)

The actor behind Mr Bean is well known for his extensive collection of Ferraris but he has also taken his car hobby to further extremes, racing professionally in the 1980s.

Atkinson raced two seasons for Renault in the car manufacturer's Clio Cup Series and has participated in events at Silverstone driving his own Aston Martin.

James Dean

James Dean at a gas station with his silver Porsche 550 Spyder he named Little Bastard, just hours before his fatal crash.
James Dean with his Porsche. (Getty)

The boyish actor sadly died in his beloved Porsche but the East of Eden star also competed in professional racing before his early death at the age of 24.

Dean competed successfully in a number of novice events in 1955 with ambitions to race at the Indianapolis 500 before being banned by the studio from racing during the making of Giant.

Paul Walker

Paul Walker was a car enthusaiast. (Getty Images)

Like Dean, Walker died far too young in a car and was best known for his role in the car-centric Fast and Furious series. His role in the franchise spurred his love of cars and racing and he competed in the Redline Time Attack.

He also co-owned the Always Evolving racing team and his brother Cody runs a festival dedicated to cars in his memory.

Frankie Muniz

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 18: Frankie Muniz, driver of the #30 Hair Club Ford, enters his car prior to the ARCA Menards Series BRANDT 200 Supporting Florida FFA at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2023 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Frankie Muniz is now a full time racer. (Getty Images)

Since breaking out as a child star through Malcolm in the Middle, Frankie Muniz has pursued his true love – racing cars. With a slight racers built, Muniz has competed in the Formula Atlantic Championship and just earlier this year, it was announced he would race a full season in the ARCA Menards Series for Rette Jones Racing.

James Garner

Actor James Garner stars as american Grand Prix driver Pete Aron, who is fired by his Jordan-BRM racing team & begins to drive for the Japanese Yamura team. Pictured: During filming, James Garner had to drive his racing car (no stunt man) for 1/2 a mile round Brands Hatch circuit while on fire. Stopping just after the finishing line, James leapt from the cockpit just as flames engulfed the car. Firemen where on standby to put out the flames. James Garner is insured for £1million during the making of this film. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
James Garner in Grand Prix. (Getty Images)

As well as being one of the most beguiling screen presences of his age, James Garner was a big car lover and starred in the film Grand Prix, which helped ignite his fascination with the sport.

He owned several racing teams throughout his life and drove the pace setting car at the Indianapolis 500 three times.

Gene Hackman

Actor Gene Hackman waves as he starts out for a practice run in his Toyota Celica, Feb. 5, 1983 at the Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Daytona 24 Hour Endurac Race. This race marks the start of Hickman?s career as a professional driver. (AP Photo/Bob Self)
Gene Hackman at Daytona. (AP Photo)

A little known fact about the notoriously private acting legend is that he competed in the 1983 24 Hours of Daytona.

Hackman took part in one of cinema's most iconic car chases in The French Connection and went on to race in a number of celebrity events as well as the Sports Car Club of America.