Rush is a 2013 biographical sports drama film centered on the rivalry between race car drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the 1976 Formula One motor-racing season. It was written by Peter Morgan, directed by Ron Howard and stars Chris Hemsworth as Hunt and Daniel Brühl as Lauda. A British-German co-production, the film premiered in London on September 2, 2013 and was shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival before its United Kingdom release on September 13, 2013
Daniel Brühl and Chris Hemsworth weren’t allowed to drive a real Formula 1 car so they had to use Formula 3 vehicles with fake F1 bodywork instead.
The James Hunt/Niki Lauda 1976 race depicted in the film, was the last Formula One event staged on Germany’s notorious Nürburgring Nordschleife (North Loop), since the lap was deemed far too hazardous.
Chris Hemsworth auditioned for the James Hunt role while he was filming The Avengers (2012) and impressed Ron Howard so much, he was signed instantly.
Chris Hemsworth shed 14 kilos to play James Hunt. He originally weighed 98 kilos having bulked up for the titular character in Thor (2011).
Niki Lauda crashed at the left-hand kink of the Bergwerk (‘The Mine’) corner of the Nürburgring north loop. Bergwerk is perhaps the Nürburgring’s most dangerous corner, and its left-hand kink is now sometimes referred to as the Lauda Links (‘Lauda left.’)
1976 was Hunt’s best year; the season proved to be one of the most dramatic and controversial on record. While Hunt’s performances in the Hesketh had drawn considerable praise, there was some conjecture as to whether he could really sustain a championship challenge. Now a works McLaren driver, he dispelled many doubters at the first race in Brazil, where, in a hastily rebuilt McLaren M23, he landed pole position in the last minutes of qualifying. Over the course of the year he would drive the McLaren M23 to six Grands Prix wins, but with superior reliability, reigning world champion and main rival Niki Lauda pulled out a substantial points lead in the first few races of the season. Hunt’s first race win of 1976, at the fourth race of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix, resulted in disqualification for driving a car adjudged to be 1.8 cm too wide. The win was later reinstated upon appeal, but it set the tone for an extraordinarily volatile season. At the British Grand Prix, Hunt was involved in a first corner incident on the first lap with Lauda which led to the race being stopped and restarted. Hunt initially attempted to take a spare car, however this was disallowed, and during this time the original race car was repaired, eventually winning the restarted race. Hunt’s victory was disallowed on 24 September by a ruling from the FIA after Ferrari complained that Hunt was not legally allowed to restart the race
Niki Lauda: Your fan belt is loose.
Agnes Bonnet: My what?
Niki Lauda: And when you brake your foot goes all the way down, which means there’s air in the system.
Agnes Bonnet: Anything else?
Niki Lauda: No… Apart from the rear brakes are worn out, the front right tire’s a but soft, which explains why you’re weaving so much.
Agnes Bonnet: How can you tell?
Niki Lauda: My ass.
Agnes Bonnet: Sorry?
Niki Lauda: God gave me an okay mind, but a really good ass, which can feel everything in a car.
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James Hunt: The closer you are to death, the more alive you feel. It’s a wonderful way to live. It’s the only way to drive.
Niki Lauda: A wise man can learn more from his enemies than a fool from his friends.
Lord Hesketh: Men love women, but even more than that, men love cars.
James Hunt: That wind you can feel is me breathing down your neck. Next time, I’ll have you.
Niki Lauda: Happiness is your biggest enemy. It weakens you. Puts doubts in your mind. Suddenly you have something to lose.
A week before the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, even though he was the fastest driver on that circuit at the time, Lauda urged his fellow drivers to boycott the race, largely because of the 23 kilometres (14 mi) circuit’s safety arrangements. Most of the other drivers voted against the boycott and the race went ahead. On 1 August 1976 during the second lap at the very fast left kink before Bergwerk, Lauda was involved in an accident where his Ferrari swerved off the track, hit an embankment, burst into flames and made contact with Brett Lunger’s Surtees-Ford car. As opposed to Lunger, Lauda was trapped in the wreckage. Drivers Arturo Merzario, Lunger, Guy Edwards and Harald Ertl arrived at the scene a few moments later, but before they were able to pull Lauda from his car, he suffered severe burns to his head and inhaled hot toxic gases that damaged his lungs and blood. As Lauda was wearing a modified helmet, the foam had compressed and it slid off his head after the accident, leaving his face exposed to the fire. Although Lauda was conscious and able to stand immediately after the accident, he later lapsed into a coma.