Mayberry to meet F1: Ron Howard will guest at USGP kickoff

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Ron Hward, who is directing the Formula 1-based film Rush (set for release in 2013) will be the “special celebrity guest” at the United States Grand Prix’s kick-off luncheon, the good folks at the Circuit of the Americas announced today.

“We are thrilled to have Ron Howard, a gifted entertainer and true American treasure, as our special guest for the official kick-off to Formula 1 festivities in Austin, said Circuit Events Host Committee Executive Director Sandy West. “F1 will make its grand re-entry to the United States in Central Texas this November, and it’s serendipitous to have one of the most dramatic, real-life F1 stories debuting on the big screen shortly after. While he was directing Rush, Mr. Howard spent several months immersed in the world of Formula 1, learning about its history, politics and personalities. We look forward to learning more about his on-set experience and his insights into the sport’s past and present.”

Howard won’t be alone. Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Austin’s mayor, Lee Leffingwell, also will be there. Well, that is if Perry can remember he’s supposed to be there. (“Hmm… there were three things I was supposed to do today. Get up. Have breakfast. And… umm… well, I forgot the third.”)

Here’s a little more from the COTA press release:

Howard will give luncheon attendees an inside look at his upcoming epic-action drama, Rush, which stars Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers) as the charismatic Englishman James Hunt and Daniel Brühl (Inglourious Basterds) as the disciplined Austrian perfectionist Niki Lauda, whose clashes on the Formula 1™ Grand Prix racetrack epitomized the contrast between these two extraordinary characters, a distinction reflected in their private lives. Rush is currently in postproduction and will be released on Sept. 20, 2013.

Tickets for the luncheon — called The Starting Grid — open at $55 per person. You can get them right here.

OK, so, big question: Does this mean F1B’s not getting Ron, too?

More seriously, I think it’s a pretty solid get for the race. Howard’s not the biggest Hollywood name (it might be nice if they also got one of the stars) but I’m sure he’s learned a lot about F1 at the time of Hunt and Lauda, and he’ll bring some Hollywood/entertainment cache with him. It’s the type of thing that might break onto ESPN and other sports websites.

And that is, as Andy Griffith might have told us, important. (Note, I have no idea if that’s what he would have said. I may never have watched that show. But, I’m right, he did sometimes provide the 1950s-type fatherly advice to little Ronnie?


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