Friday, June 23, 2017

Get to Know Chad McQueen

I've had the opportunity to meet Chad McQueen a few times, Steve's son, so I thought I would share this with you.

Chad standing with his fathers Speedster. Photo credit The Sunday Times Driving

Steve McQueen had a reputation as a hellraiser but according to his son, but he was a great father. In between shooting the films that would make him an international star and the worlds highest paid actor of the 70's, McQueen fathered two children, Chad and his sister, Terry. Steve would take time off the movie sets to teach them to ride motorcycles and to swim in the pool at their Los Angeles home, good times. Chad recalls, "Every other kid wanted him as their dad, so he must have been doing something right."

Losing his father to lung cancer at Chad's young age has had a lasting effect, Chad says. "I think when you lose a parent, you think about them every day. I don't think that goes away." He believes his fathers mesothelioma was caused be inhaling asbestos.

Following with the love of cars in his dad's footsteps, his first car was a '49 Chevy trunk, restored in British racing green. He worked at a gas station for two years to repay his dad the $2500 he had lent him to buy it. Later he also went on to appear in several 1980s and 1990s films and to win an award for a TV documentary called, Filming at Speed. So you can see the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

Loving racing like his dad, that was one of the things that he could sink his teeth into. Unfortunately his racing career was ended by a near-fatal accident while practicing for the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2006. He was comatose for 3 1/2 weeks, with a broken neck, broken left leg, broken arm, all his ribs on the right side, and a collapsed lung. This left him with metal implants in his neck and back and when you see him, he's always wearing sunglasses to mask damage to an eye. But, his love of cars has not stopped.

Today, Chad runs McQueen Racing, which licences cars, motorcycles, and clothing carrying the McQueen brand, as well as producing films and participating in motor-sport-related events. He also makes public appearances to raise money for charity.

Steve McQueen's film LeMans, about the annual endurance race is cited by top motor-sport drivers, including Alan McNish, three times LeMans winner, and Tom Kristensen, a nine time winner, as their inspiration.

Chad says. "These days I can go to racetracks around the world and meet drivers who are perhaps 15 years old and they say, 'Oh, I love LeMans.'" "That is who my dad wanted to reach. That's who mattered, and it's why it has become a cult classic for the racing community and motor-sport fans."

Thanks to, Nick Rufford for much of this information.