Best racing films and TV box sets to stream on Amazon Prime in 2021 (updated)

Racing Movies

We've handpicked the best racing movies Amazon Prime has to offer, as well as documentaries and box sets ready for you to watch right now - updated for 2021

Paul Newman Le Mans 1979

Paul Newman features in 'Winning' racing documentary on Amazon Prime

Jacques Pavlovsky/Sygma via Getty Images

As we find ourselves in the midst of another lockdown long stint, there’s no better time to settle down with your favourite racing movie, documentary or TV box set. We’ve selected some of the best Amazon Prime racing programmes available to stream right now. Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll keep updating the list.

 

Rush

Rush official film image

Few reading this will have not seen Rush since it was released in 2013.

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But in case your memories are blurred, the film pits playboy racer James Hunt against the exemplary professional Niki Lauda, the backdrop being their 1976 F1 title battle.

The story has been overdramatised for effect; it’s fairly well known that Hunt and Lauda were on reasonably good terms as far as F1 adversaries go.

However, Hollywood has never let facts like this get in the way of a good story, and what results is a rather entertaining film.

The picture is both exciting and aesthetically pleasing – the ideal re-watch when any grand prix gets cancelled.

To be fair, Lauda did say Rush was “80 per cent right”, so who’s going to argue with a three-time world champion?

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Crash and Burn

Crash and Burn poster

Tommy Byrne must be the only person bold enough to have stolen Ayrton Senna’s car wheels.

From the archive

His pithy summary of his own career “it hasn’t been a terrible life, I just lost out on about a hundred million dollars” lets you know this is not your average racing documentary.

The hair-raising tale of the Irish firebrand rise to the top of motorsport and then his almost equally meteoric fall ultimately makes for a brilliant film.

Talking heads such as Eddie Jordan, Martin Brundle and Gary Anderson assure the viewer that Byrne had all the talent to make it as an elite driver, it was just everything else about him that was the problem.

Bryne’s amusingly sarcastic verdict on Senna “you would have thought he was the second coming of Christ” is a refreshing antidote to the usual deification of the Brazilian, correlating with everything else that is unconventional about this intriguing racing character.

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Legends of Speed

Legends of Speed finds the protagonists of motorsport’s greatest stories speaking without dramatic embellishment, perhaps giving a slightly fuller and more balanced picture than a documentary such as Senna would do.

The documentary examines three different facets of motorsport: rivalries, dangers and daredevils.

From the archive

Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Jackie Stewart and Jacky Ickx, amongst others, lend their insight into what went on during F1’s most crucial moments.

It’s refreshing to see Prost not cast as the villain, whilst Lauda is forthright as ever. They muse on Lauda v Hunt, Senna and Prost plus the more recent rivalry of Hamilton vs Rosberg.

The loss of Jim Clark and Jochen Rindt is covered, whilst Jochen Mass talks movingly of his guilt about being involved in the death of Gilles Villeneuve.

Ep. 3 diversifies a little, as it features Walter Rohrl, Hans Herrmann as well as the famous 1955 Mille Miglia effort by Stirling Moss, with the latter emphasising just how important Motor Sport magazine’s very own Jenks was in navigating for that win.

Although perhaps hampered by a lack of FOM footage post-1978 the grand prix filming from before that year is excellent.

While ‘never-before-seen’ might be stretching it a little, a lot of the images – particularly of the rallying and endurance racing – are seldom seen, making it worth the watch.

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Le Mans: Racing Is Everything

Although the perception of Le Mans as a motorsport achievement has changed since 1966, it still holds its own unique allure.

This series, possibly viewed by Netflix as a template for Drive to Survive, shows exactly what it takes to win the 24-hour enduro in the modern day.

The documentary has behind-the-scenes access to Porsche, Audi, Toyota, Nissan and Aston Martin, with plucky privateers Rebellion Racing thrown in for good measure.

We see the drivers preparing for the 2015 race in their respective home environments, illustrating the different cultures and backgrounds that has led them toward one shared goal: winning Le Mans.

Few racing documentaries go into this behind the scenes detail, marking it out from previous offerings.

Porsche continues its culture of winning, but not with the driver line-up you might expect.

Nissan’s back-to-the-future approach of putting the engine in the front doesn’t quite work out, with video-game-champion-turned-real-life-racer Jann Mardenborough feeling the full brunt of the Le Mans reality.

Whilst the Le Mans entry these days might not quite so competitive, this documentary shows how fiercely contested it was just a few years ago.

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Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman

From the makers of Uppity, 24-Hour War and Shelby comes the feature-length documentary Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman.

From the archive

The title is self-explanatory, but the film is captivating. Tracing Academy Award-winning Newman’s first interest in racing all the way to founding his own very successful IndyCar team, it serves as a portal into a whole other world within a world.

Viewers witness the Academy Award winner gets his true kicks, finding solace, excitement and camaraderie on the racing track away from the film studios.

Not just a Hollywood smile and cheque writer, Newman finished 2nd at the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans and won his class at Daytona in 1995 at the age of 70(!)

No less than Mario Andretti, Patrick Demspey and Sebastien Bourdais lend their voice in the film in support of Newman’s skills as both a driver and team owner, in a film which both charms, entertains and informs.

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Colin McRae: Rally Legend

Colin McRae and Derek Ringer celebrate winning the 1995 RAC RAlly and the World Rally Championship

This authorised documentary on the WRC legend was made during 2007, the year McRae, his son and a number of family friends were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in Scotland.

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The film charts his journey from playing as a child with the motorbikes of his father, British Rally Champion Jimmy McRae, to then conquering the domestic rally season himself before becoming WRC champion in 1995.

It goes beyond the more famed glory years too, covering his time at M-Sport, Citroën, his Dakar attempts and other motorsport forays.

Petrolheads will be particularly delighted with McRae giving a close of the cherished machinery he keeps in his Lanarkshire garage.

Fantastic archive footage, at-home scenes and the final interviews conducted by McRae before his untimely death are both candid and poignant.

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