There’s been a long line of Hollywood stars racing Porsches, and for many of them, it’s nothing but a leisurely pastime—a bucket-list item, perhaps. Michael Fassbender is not quite one of them. The actor’s exploits at the wheel—easily seen in his onboards and a short video series following his journey to Le Mans—demonstrate he’s far from a dilettante.
Although his driving career has been spent mainly in Porsche RSRs and Ferrari Challenges, Fassbender’s dedication to the craft means he’s tried his hand at amateur rally and less-glamorous forms of racing. Therefore, it’s not the just illustrious marques which draw him; the man has dreamed of a future as a racing driver since he was a child growing up in Ireland.
His relationship with the marque was sparked by a conversation with another actor who shares the same passions: Patrick Dempsey. Then reaching the end of this thirties, Fassbender decided to slow down on his acting to chase his first dream. Fassbender began by completing a short training course with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup as part of the Porsche Driving Experience, then began competing in Porsche Sports Cup races.
For the 2020 season, he’s been fine-tuning his long-distance driving in a Proton Competition-prepared RSR in the European Le Mans Series races, and most recently, he’s joined the Porsche Supercup series to test his mettle in a sprint scenario. For someone who got into formal racing relatively late in life, it’s surprising how versatile, calm, and quick he is.
“The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup requires a different driving style than the 911 RSR. The cup car moves around more, which means I can learn a great deal,” describes Fassbender. “Now I’m looking forward to the race on Sunday. Every kilometre in a racing car counts for me.”
Things looked up for his Supercup debut. Compared to his times in practice, Fassbender slashed 1.5 seconds off the gap to the professionals at the front, which, considering his lack of experience in the car, was not too shabby.
But one quick lap is only a single slice of the pie. In the 86°F heat, Fassbender had his work cut out for him. Remaining modest, the Heidelberg-born Irishman aimed to “stay out of trouble and not bother the guys who are driving for victory and the championship.” In that respect, he succeeded.
Unfortunately, the evasive moves of the drivers starting further behind led to a chain reaction with four vehicles becoming entangled in a collision which included Fassbender. Though his Supercup start seemed auspicious, it seems that a podium at this hyper-competitive level will have to wait.
Just give him a few more races.