“It was the best time, it burned something into my heart, and it’s why I became a racing driver,” says Chad McQueen of his first visit to Le Mans aged 10, when he accompanied his family to France as his father Steve McQueen was making the iconic film Le Mans.
“Put it this way, I don’t know any other ten year old kid who got to ride in a 917 on the Mulsanne, even if it was sitting on my dad’s lap and going the wrong way.”
“I want people to remember him the way I do. I believe he would have been proud that Le Mans has become one of the greatest stories about racing ever told”
Chad spoke to Goodwood Road & Racing during a media call (he’s a big fan of the Festival of Speed), and acknowledged his return to the scene of the Le Mans shoot was highly emotional. “I was here with dad, my mum and my sister, I had the best time and of course it’s very emotional to come back.”
He’s planning to walk some of the track with the documentary crew today, and tomorrow has planned a visit to home the McQueen family hired for the shoot. “Chateau Lonay in Vire-en-Champagne – I can’t wait to see that again,” he told us.
So why now? “Interest in Dad’s film is still as strong as ever, and people kept saying I should do something. It was the most personally important film of his career, and I want people to remember him the way I do. I believe he would have been proud that Le Mans has become one of the greatest stories about racing ever told, and how it got made is the stuff of legend.”
McQueen: The Man and Le Mans is the resultant project – a documentary film the promoters describe as ‘the story of obsession, betrayal and ultimate vindication’.
The new movie promises much for fans of Steve McQueen and Le Mans itself. The production has uncovered two previously unpublished 45 minute films shot during the making of the movie, in addition to unheard interviews with Steve McQueen.
Hopefully Chad will come back to Goodwood soon, and can tell us more!