Sunday, February 25, 2024

Brad Pitt Causes Commotion While Filming New Formula One Movie Scenes at Rolex 24

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The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona gained an extra dose of Hollywood glamour this past week as actor Brad Pitt arrived to film scenes for his upcoming Formula One racing movie. But while fans were thrilled to catch a glimpse of the superstar, Pitt’s presence resulted in some headaches for drivers trying to prepare for the prestigious 24-hour endurance race.

The yet-to-be-titled film features Pitt as an aging driver who returns to sports car racing after his Formula One career. To capture realistic racing footage, Pitt and the production crew took over parts of Daytona International Speedway during practice sessions leading up to Saturday’s green flag.

Several drivers complained that the movie filming disrupted their preparations and denied them access to areas like the motorhome lot. Former Formula One champion Jenson Button, now competing in the Rolex 24, lamented being bumped to an overflow parking area. IndyCar rising star Colton Herta wondered if he should ask Pitt for advice on cracking into Formula One.

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The heavy security required for Pitt also kept drivers like NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace and IndyCar’s Scott McLaughlin from accessing their own motorhomes. McLaughlin groused about being turned away when he wasn’t carrying his credential, an unusual obstruction for a uniformed driver arriving straight from his race car.

Nighttime practice sessions generated even more headaches. The filming required at least six cars on track at once, including three identically-prepared Porsche 911 GT3s painted just like Wright Motorsports’ actual Rolex 24 entry. The other movie cars—a Mercedes, BMW and a vintage 1999 Lola—stayed out late, rumbling loudly enough to keep fatigued drivers from sleeping.

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Button and others complained the disruptive drone of engines persisted into early morning hours. “Lack of sleep is the only issue, but I’m in the cheap seats,” Button said with a laugh. “We’ve got a big race coming up and Brad Pitt is playing a part in the event.”

While filming caused some hassles, most drivers recognized the excitement of having a huge star like Pitt playing a role in promoting their sport. The movie, directed by “Top Gun: Maverick’s” Joseph Kosinski and co-produced by seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, promises to shine a new spotlight on racing.

Pitt’s commitment to capturing authentic racing action bodes well for the film’s quality. The 12 Hours of Sebring and other big sports car endurance events could also host filming in the coming months.

For now, Pitt is soaking in the racing atmosphere, even chatting with drivers and asking for advice. “It’s pretty cool to have a huge celebrity like Brad Pitt walking around the paddock,” Herta said. “Even with the headaches, it shows he’s taking this role seriously.”

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The Action Express Racing team even posted a photo of Pitt smiling next to their Cadillac sports car. While double duty as an actor and race car driver this weekend is impossible, it summarizes the thrill Pitt’s star power brings to Daytona.

Come Saturday’s start, the focus will return to fierce on-track competition. But with cameras also capturing more scenes over the 24-hour distance, the entertaining commotion surrounding Pitt’s Formula One movie shoot might not fully fade away. At a race as prestigious as the Rolex 24, a touch of Hollywood certainly never hurts.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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