I have just finishing watching a broadcast of Speed Merchants, an excellent film that chronicles the 1972 World Championship of Makes.
It was made by Michael Keyser, who drove a 911 at Le Mans. The story is told from the perspective of Mario Andretti of the Ferrari team and Vic Elford of the Autodelta Alfa Romeo squad.
Andretti and Jacky Ickx began the season well with wins at Daytona and Sebring. But Ferrari decided not to enter Le Mans that year after blowing up an engine in the 14th hour of a test. The 24-hour race was left to the Matras.
Jo Bonnier was quick in his Lola that year, but Elford’s vain search for the Swede’s resting spot in the aftermath of his fatal crash at Le Mans is a chilling reminder of the dangers inherent in the sport.
The film features ‘at home’ profiles of Ickx, Elford, Brian Redman (playing a monster for his daughter!) and Helmut Marko. Andretti puts up with innumerable autograph sessions and promotional events, flying in his private plane across the States.
Through it all, the Ferraris, Alfas, Matras and Lolas race around the world: Argentina, Monza, the old Spa, the incredible Targa Florio, the old Ring, Le Mans, the majestic Osterreichring and Watkins Glen.
This wonderful film preserves a golden age of sportscar racing.
Scott Bloom, San Francisco, USA