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Friday, May 4, 2012

You Can't Handle the Truth (in 24 II: Every Second Counts)

Any enthusiast worth his nomex driving gloves knows that Audi is a powerhouse in the world of endurance racing.  With ten overall Le Mans victories since the race in 2000, no manufacturer has ever achieved the same levels of success that the boys from Ingolstadt have in such a short amount of time.  So, what happens when your trophy cabinet is overflowing with French hardware?  Relive the glory by making a documentary, of course!

Fresh from a screening held at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Ma, I can share my thoughts on the second documentary that...errrr... documents the Audi way of life at Le Mans.

The original documentary, Truth in 24, which was released in 2009 showcased the buildup to the 2008 24 Hours of Le Mans with a recap of the Audi team at two prior races in the season at Sebring and Spa.  2012's Truth in 24 II: Every Second Counts doesn't stray far from that formula.  Actually, it's the exact same right down to the villainous Peugeot team lurking in the background always ready to spoil Audi's day.

For those that followed the race last year, you must be the biggest racing nerd ever.  Honestly, who follows 24 hours of racing?!?!  Additionally, where were you last year?!  I was lonely...

Anyways, for the nerds out there like myself, there isn't much to learn from this new documentary.  Without trying to spoil this for the casual observers, we remember the incidents between Audi and Ferrari, the aggression of Peugeot, and the emotional roller coaster throughout the race.  However, the little bits and pieces that aren't picked up by the Speed Channel's broadcast are brought to light in this film.  The ability and experience of the Audi crew to get off that emotional roller coaster and continue on with the task at hand speaks volumes about their dedication to not just the team but each other on a personal basis.  It goes hand and hand with the changes in strategy that are executed as the race evolves through no fault of their own.

For the super nerdy amongst us, the engineers and technology geeks, the film is a let down.  While talking about the one piece monocoque and the twin turbo diesel V6, not one image of the actual component was shown.  Before getting up in arms about proprietary technology or keeping secrets from their rivals, let's remember that images of these things are easily available with a quick Google search.  This documentary which seems to focus on the human side of racing does a disservice to the people that built such a fine racing weapon by not elaborating on its complexity and precision.

Overall, this film can't be faulted for trying to walk a fine line between the hardcore enthusiast and the casual car/race fan.  It shows the racing fanboys that there is more to racing than just high-tech cars, lap times, and science while the automatic transmissioned Audi A4 driver gets to see that there's more to it than cars driving around in circles.  It's a solid 7 on a scale to 10.  Luckily, nobody has to pay to see this as it will be aired on Speed at 4:00pm EST on Saturday.  If they stick to the formula, it should be free to download from iTunes a few days later.

Special Thanks to the folks at Larz Anderson for hosting the event as well as Gorman Insurance located in Allston, MA for setting me up with the movie pass.

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