A swashbuckling prince, the costliest cars in the world, the toughest race in the world and a 'simple' car.
Dubai was host to a preview of the documentary ‘Knights of Le Mans’ and irony filled the air as the emirate’s petrol-heads filed in to the Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai last week.
There were family and friends, and sponsors, but for the most part judging by the world’s most luxurious cars that filled the hotel’s garage this was a car afficinado’s event.
If one was going to pick the star of the event going by the cars, you would not pick a "simple" one from the bevvy of beauties that were being valet parked.
Yet, it was, by his own admission, "a simple car" that Saudi Prince Abdulaziz Turki Al Faisal emerged from to present the premiere of ‘Knights of Le Mans’ – his journey and experience on the tracks of the famous course.
The documentary is an initiative of German production company GTV and follows the 2012 participation of Abdulaziz and his team mates Sean Edwards and Bret Curtis at Le Mans, the oldest active sports car race in endurance racing held annually in Paris, France.
Abdulaziz might have rented a "simple car" to come to the venue, but on screen, the 28-year-old grandson of the late King Faisal is able to express exactly what the sport is all about and at the end of the evening, there was not a single person not touched by the passion and inspiring personality of the charismatic prince.
For one hour, a breathless audience witnessed a stressful, but exciting sequence of events.
The documentary keeps the audience on the edge of their seats and Abdulaziz’s team gradually climbs its way up the charts, making it to the first five.
Abdulaziz is instructed to give 100 per cent and he does. Then, the car crashes.
“I really thought he was going to win,” says a disappointed member of the audience.
But the car is gone, and so is chance of a win. “This is what the sport is all about. You learn and then you try again,” he says, explaining that he did not hesitate for a minute to have the event documented.
Le Mans is a 24-hour racing competition in which the team that covers the most kilometres within this time-frame wins.
It lays claim on endurance of racers, as well as teamwork and coordination, guaranteeing the maximum capacity of the car.
The documentary captures the team and these challenges closely from beginning to end.
Applause fills the room as the end credits appear.
The star of the movie stands up for a round of questions.
“How did you train in the rain?” asks a lady, realising that the wet course in Paris could not possibly be resemble his homeland of Saudi Arabia.
“Actually I experienced some rain when I trained on Yas Island last year,” he says.
“I did not follow the sport before, but I will follow it now,” says a lady and similar reactions will follow during the concluding reception at the open-sky venue of the hotel.
“Car racing is not as big in the Middle East as it is in Europe,” he says.
“But there is a great response and I would like to encourage youngsters interested in the sport to pursue these ambitions.”
OSN will air the documentary on September 28, 10.00pm KSA time on Motorvision HD