Meet The Revolutionaries Trying To Make Racing Legal In Cuba

Racing was banned in Cuba when Fidel Castro’s fighters took control of the country and the sport was labeled as elitist. More than half a century later a group of enthusiasts in race cars made from recycled ‘50s American iron are fighting to bring the sport back, as chronicled inHavana Motor Club: a new documentary we’ll be showing at the Jalopnik Film Festival on Saturday.

(We’re showing Havana Motor Club as part of our Jalopnik Film Festival in Los Angeles this week. You can get tickets here if you haven’t already. Jason Torchinsky will also moderate a panel featuring director Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt and racers Carlos Alvarez Sanchez and Armando Lorenzo Munnet Rodríguez.)

Cuba’s discomfort with racing initially can be seen as a response to the Batista Government’s push to make the island nation attractive to tourists by hosting a Grand Prix in the country. The event was staged against the backdrop of the revolution and at one point Castro’s supporters kidnapped five-time world champion Juan Manuel Fangio before the race in 1958. The same year a crash killed seven spectators.

And with that, racing was soon over in Cuba. Not like Cuba would be a great place for auto enthusiasts anyway, as an import ban made it difficult to get new cars or parts.

Meet The Revolutionaries Trying To Make Racing Legal In Cuba

But that didn’t stop everyone.

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