Ask me what my favourite motor racing documentary is and I will tell you without any hesitation that it is the relatively little-known Truth in 24.
This gem of a film follows the 2008 Le Mans-winning Audi team as they fought their way through the gruelling race, giving us unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to the crew and showcasing their ability to pull together to overcome their rivals.
Quite why its release was confined to those who reside in America and use the abomination that is iTunes is still one of life’s little mysteries. It was deserving of a much wider audience, especially from a marketing perspective, as it was near impossible to come away from watching it without admiration for the German manufacturer.
Thankfully, the distribution for the follow-up has been massively improved, with Truth in 24 II being made available – for free – to most countries through iTunes, the Audi.TV website and even YouTube. But perhaps even more remarkably, it also reaches the same level of excellence as its predecessor.
On narration duties once again is Jason Statham, whose dulcet cockney tones lead us through this 82 minute piece that chronicles Audi’s preparations for the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours before shifting its focus to the race itself. And what a race it was too – after almost 3,000 miles of fast and furious racing the top two cars were split by just 15 seconds!
How Audi came to win the battle of the diesel-powered prototypes is brilliantly told, with masses of race footage intertwined with insightful contributions from drivers and team personnel alike.
Star of the show is undoubtedly Leena Gade who, following Allan McNish and Mike Rockenfeller’s horror smashes, had the responsibility of commanding the sole remaining Audi to victory. Her ability to remain calm under pressure is impressive to say the least, and as a role model for wannabe female engineers there is no better.
Head honcho Dr Wolfgang Ullrich and lead engineer Howden Haynes also take turns in front of the camera, with the former showing his rarely seen emotional side, while the latter is his usual no nonsense self. This time offering Gade his assistance during pivotal moments in the race and defining the underlying theme of the film: teamwork.
With plenty of on-track footage – not least Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer’s impressive morning stints – plus some re-examining of the race by key players; Truth in 24 II not only captures the drama and atmosphere from within the Audi camp at last year’s race, it also informs and entertains, like all good documentaries should.
Watch it, make everyone you know watch it, and then try and resist the urge to buy an Audi before heading to La Sarthe for some endurance racing action. Bet you can’t.