As we patiently wait for all the new seasons of racing to start, there are plenty of amazing car nerd documentaries and racing docuseries to get you revved up. Call it the Drive to Survive effect, but more and more areas of racing are following this model. Now, that is in no way a bad thing. Putting these series in front of more people is a good thing. I’m selfish, so I applaud this because I’d love to talk about Formula E without getting met with a blank look. If you’ve ever been curious about any of these types of racing, January is a great time to jump.
Yes, I have to start here, and I’m not sorry. Aside from being an amazing docuseries about a time in F1 that isn’t likely to happen again, it features my one true love, Jenson Button. Sorry, World Champion Jenson Button. Not to sound like Stefan from SNL, but this docuseries has everything: a cheating scandal, financial ruin, infighting, betrayals, defeats, and triumphs. This was such an amazing series, especially to see a snapshot of this very significant time in F1 from the perspectives of so many of our favorite former drivers. It’s also wild to see young Christian Horner and young James Vowels.
Keanu Reeves is excellent, perfectly creating drama, tension, and humor in the interviews. Jenson is as charming as you would expect. With his return to racing at full capacity this year, I hope this creates more Button fans. This series is well worth watching; each episode leaves you wanting more.
I spent a lot of last years talking about Le Mans; I mean, it was the centennial of the race, so it was only fitting. I got to speak with Parick Long, a long-time Porsche driver at Le Mans, and got some real insider knowledge. We talked specifically about the influx of actors turned drivers as he trained and raced with Patrick Dempsey. We touched on Micheal Fassbender, who was participating for the second time with Proton and driving a Porsche 911. This is a great look into the craziness that goes into getting the mind, body, soul, and car ready for the legendary 24-hour race. Fassbender, in no way, is just another pretty face or arrogant actor thinking they can just hop in and command a car of this caliber. LeMans requires so much more than grit and money. It takes tenacity, heart, and a little luck. This documentary perfectly encapsulates that. If you know nothing about Le Mans, this is an excellent place to start. Mark your calendars for June 15th and pop on MotorTrend, where you can watch the entire race. There is nothing in the world like it; it is truly unique.
In less than two weeks Formula E starts its 10th season in Mexico City. Aside from being a decade old now, this is the biggest calendar season they have ever had, with 17 races scheduled. If you aren’t familiar with Formula E, it is the top level of electric single-seater racing. It’s just as fast, fun, and aggressive as Formula 1. If you’ve never been to a race, I highly recommend you catch on this season. I recommend London; it’s indoors and unlike anything you’ll ever experience. But I digress. There is more than enough time to catch up on seasons one and two of Unplugged on Paramount +. Season 3’s first episode just dropped on YouTube. New episodes will launch every Monday and Wednesday until February 5th. You will get an in-depth look at the previous season and understand the personalities and intensity of this series. Keep an eye on our site this season. I’ll be happy to walk you all through this celebratory year. If you want a little more on Formula E and the science behind EV racing, check out Racing Green. It’s a book I recommend a lot.
PS. Justice for Nyck de Vries, if you know, you know.
This six-episode series is about the preparations for the Indy 500 and is the most ideal introduction to IndyCar. As I’ve mentioned in other articles, I have loved seeing the trickle of interest from F1 into the other series, specifically IndyCar. It is a more palatable type of driving/system for Formula 1 fans to digest. Because everyone wants a DTS hit, IndyCar came together with the CW for this production. Without any prior knowledge, you can jump into this and get a feel for how special this race is, but also how significant it is to motorsports history. It’s one of the most famous races in the world. Also, Fast Friday is one of my absolute favorite ‘holidays’ in motorsports. Don’t worry, you’ll know what I’m talking about soon. IndyCar’s new season kicks off in St. Petersburg on March 10th.
(Full disclosure: I love every single one of the McLaren drivers in this series. )
Honestly, the DTS hate has to stop. Is it as spectacular now as in the earlier seasons? No. Netflix picking and choosing what to show, how to show it, and how to edit is their prerogative. All reality TV knows you have to create villains and storylines to keep audiences engaged. The DTS producers are no different. You do have a special advantage if you watched the previous seasons of knowing the truths and real drama. But hey, for someone who has no idea about F1, it’s not a bad thing to me if people learn about Fernando Alonso or Guenther Steiner through this show. This should be an interesting season, I’m hoping to see more behind the scenes of Vegas, because my god. Season Six will air in its entirety on February 23rd, with the first race of the season following on March 2nd.
Keep an eye out for…
Not to be outdone, NASCAR has tossed their hats into the DTS ring. I will say Netflix is getting better with each of these shows, in how they cover sports and live events. Will lightning strike twice for them? Perhaps. Rather than focus on a whole season, this show will solely focus on the Cup Series playoffs and Championship race from this past year. (Again, of which I had feelings.) This series is expected to be five episodes at 45 minutes each. They teased an early 2024 release, and it will drop on January 30th, just a few weeks before the 66th running of the Daytona 500 takes place. This kicks off the new season officially.
Logan Sargeant: The Step Up
Williams Racing has teased this as something longer, but if not, this is a nice look inside the experiences of a rookie. I am glad James Vowels is giving Logan another shot to prove himself in F1. Yes, he is the first American to score points in the series this century, but there is definitely something special about him. You don’t get to Formula 1 without being talented and having a heck of a lot of potential. Really hoping for a better season for him and Williams in 2024.
All my fingers are crossed that this documentary on Dan Wheldon gets major distribution/released this year. It made the festival circuit rounds to very positive reviews. Dan was an absolute legend of IndyCar. Over a decade after his passing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his story certainly has a place in Indy history. Dan was an absolute force, loved both on and off the track. This is his story as it is now his two sons, Sebastian and Oliver, who are racers as well. It is a tribute, and it is part of coping after a life-changing loss. HBO is said to still have the rights, so I’m praying it gets a Max release this year.
Honorable Mention: Win The Weekend
This came out last year, but it is perfect for those who are IMSA curious. It’s eight episodes and is a great way to spend a weekend. Get a first-hand look at the dashes of Acura, BMW, Cadillac, and Porsche. Last season, IMSA also introduced an electrified hybrid GT Prototype, pushing the tech of the sport forward in a fast-paced way only they could cook up. The 2024 IMSA starts January 19th with the 24 hours of Daytona.