11 January 2024 • Alums "Ferrari" Movie Based on HWS Alum's Book

A book by the former Car and Driver editor Brock Yates ’55, P ’78 serves as the basis for the new film “Ferrari.”

Released on Christmas Day, “Ferrari,” directed by Michael Mann and starring Adam Driver, Penelope Cruz and Shailene Woodley, focuses on Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari during the summer of 1957 as he and his racers prepare for the 1,000-mile race Mille Miglia in Italy while facing personal and financial turmoil.

The former Car and Driver editor Brock Yates ’55, P ’78, who died in 2016, wrote Enzo Ferrari: The Man and the Machine in 1991 as a biography about Ferrari and had plans for it to become a movie, according to a 2023 Car and Driver article. Directors like Mann were interested in making the film a reality. The project was on hold until 2014 when Yates’ wife Pamela approved a movie adaptation in his place as Yates’ health declined from Alzheimer’s. The movie has received positive reviews.

“Just as everyone wanted to work with the actual Ferrari, Michael Mann attracts top talent across the board, and they jointly elevate “Ferrari” in ways that lead to one of the most well-made films of the year,” writes Brian Tellerico for RogerEbert.com.

Yates might be best known for creating the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, or the Cannonball Run, an unsanctioned race from New York to California, in 1971. It became the basis of the 1981 movie “Cannonball Run” starring Burt Reynolds and Farrah Fawcett. Yates also wrote the film’s script.

As a student, Yates was a member of the Chimera junior honors society. He wrote for The Herald and was a member of the rifle club, the Little Theatre drama club and The Echo of the Seneca yearbook.

After graduating from HWS with a bachelor’s degree in history, Yates served in the U.S. Navy. He joined Car and Driverin 1964 as a managing editor. He worked for the magazine in various capacities until the early 2000s, enlarging the scope of coverage beyond races and road tests to include social commentary and criticism.

Yates authored more than a dozen books about cars and motorsports, including Sunday Driver: The Writer Meets the Road — at 175 MPH (1972), The Decline and Fall of the American Automobile Industry (1983) and Cannonball! World’s Greatest Outlaw Road Race (2002). He was a frequent contributor to The Washington Post, Playboy, The American Spectator and other publications. He wrote the screenplay for “Smokey and the Bandit II” (1980) with Jerry Belson and served as a racing commentator on television.