Monza, Italy - September 1966
Here is beautiful Françoise Hardy (who played Lisa in the movie Grand Prix) wearing Pete Aron’s (played by James Garner) helmet and a genuine race driver outfit! This snapshot was actually not in the movie Grand Prix and Françoise Hardy was not in any of the races in this movie as there simply were no women formula one drivers back then. However, she apparently posed in a race car driver outfit for photographers during the shooting of this thrilling action-packed movie. Obviously, pretending to be a race car driver is a lot safer than being a real one as car racing is a dangerous and sometimes deadly sport. Interestingly, the four fictitious star drivers in the movie Grand Prix had names that were very similar to real formula one drivers from that era and they also wore helmets that were identical. There was a good reason for that: With the exception of James Garner, most of the actors were simply not skilled enough to drive a formula one car at full speed so consequently, professional drivers were often used as doubles. John Surtees (and sometimes Mike Parkes) did some of the stunt driving for the Jean-Pierre Sarti character that was played by Yves Montand. Jackie Stewart probably did most of the driving for the Scott Stoddard character that was played by Brian Bedford. However, this actor looked more like the Scottish formula one legend Jim Clark (who also became my hero when I was 11 years old!). Lorenzo Bandini did most of the driving for the Nino Barlini character (that was portrayed by Antonio Sabàto Sr.) and was very much involved in the filming of Grand Prix. He was even involved in the staging of the fake accident at the Grand Prix of Monaco in this movie. By some horrible twist of fate, Lorenzo Bandini perished about a year later in the real 1967 Monaco Grand Prix after his Ferrari overturned and caught fire. James Garner (who played Pete Aron) was the only actor who did all of his own stunt driving. Although no doubles were used, Pete Aron’s helmet (the one that Françoise Hardy is wearing in this picture) was identical as Chris Amon’s (note the name similarity) helmet except the colors were reversed. About 3 years before the movie Grand Prix came out, Françoise Hardy, who was better known for her singing than her acting, became one of my idols. When I was 7 years old, I used to listen to her music often and I still do to this very day! My favorite song by her is the French version of Message Personnel (she also has an English version of it, too).