By: Spencer Neff
May 16, 2019 | 12:00 PM
Earlier today, Academy Award-winning actors Christian Bale and Matt Damon were named honorary starters for the Indianapolis 500 later this month. The duo will wave the green flag to begin the 200-lap race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Damon and Bale will co-star in 20th Century Fox’s upcoming film “Ford vs. Ferrari”, based on the true story of the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. In the fillm, legendary car designer Carroll Shelby (Damon) and driver Ken Miles (Bale) team up to battle Enzo Ferrari’s team in the iconic sports car race.
The motion picture, directed by James Mangold, is scheduled for release November 15 by The Walt Disney Studios. The cast also includes Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Reno Girone and Ray McKinnon.
In 1998, Damon rose to prominence with an Academy Award for “Goodwill Hunting” (Best Original Screenplay). He has also been nominated for an Academy Award on four other occasions.
Bale also has an Academy Award to his credit. In 2011, he was named Best Supporting Actor for his role in “The Fighter”. Since then, he has earned three other Academy Award nominations.
“The Indianapolis 500 is the largest single-day sporting event on Earth, so it’s fitting that global icons Matt Damon and Christian Bale will be in the flag stand on May 26 to send the field of 33 cars charging toward Turn 1,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said in Thursday’s announcement.
“Matt and Christian are used to performing in the brightest spotlight so we know they will enjoy this special role at the world’s greatest race.”
Damon and Bale may be relatively new to the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. However, the racers they are portraying for their upcoming film do have a history with the race.
In 1991, Shelby served as ceremonial driver of the Dodge Viper pace car for the race.
Although Miles never started the race himself, he did team with longtime IndyCar driver Lloyd Ruby to win the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona. Ruby is considered to be among the greatest drivers to never win the Indianapolis 500.
The green flag for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge is set for approximately 12:30 p.m. ET on May 26.
Header Image By Indianapolis Motor Speedway