Peter Anderson | Aug 13, 2012

Ron Howard's new film Rush might be over a year away from screens, but for racing fans and history buffs, these images from the film trailer suggest the wait will be worth it.

Starring Phillip Island lad Chris Hemsworth (Thor) as McLaren's playboy F1 driver James Hunt, and Daniel Bruhl (Inglourious Basterds) as the hard-nosed Niki Lauda, the shots depict the F1 pitlane as it was in the 1970s.

Howard, known for his attention to period detail with films like Apollo 13, has recreated the era with real cars from the garages of F1 teams and wealthy collectors.

The film focuses on the titanic battle between Hunt and Lauda in the 1976 Formula One World Championship.

The title was won by Hunt, but in that year Lauda was horrifically burned when he crashed his Ferrari at the Nurburgring on lap two of the German Grand Prix.

He swerved off the track with suspected rear suspension failure, before hitting an embankment and rolling back into the path of Brett Lunger's Surtees-Ford.

Lauda was trapped in the wreckage suffering severe facial burns and lung damage after flames engulfed his car. Remarkably, he was back on the track, heavily bandaged, just six weeks later, driving to fourth in the Italian Grand Prix.

Both drivers had a see-saw year, with Hunt in the McLaren disqualified a number of times during the season, leading to a dramatic Japanese Grand Prix finale.

Hunt was three points behind Lauda going into that race. Lauda retired, hampered by rain and unable to blink as a result of his injuries. Hunt had his own problems. He suffered a puncture, a long pitstop and communications problems with his team.

The Englishman however eventually fought his way to third, gaining four points and the title by one point.

The drama of their battle was heightened because the two drivers were diametrically opposed, both on and off the track, Hunt an affable Englishman and Lauda a gruff Austrian.

Lauda's unquestionable bravery in returning from that horror crash at the German Grand Prix is the stuff of legends. Hunt, also tough on the track, had his own reputation as a womanising, hard-living rake who commonly attended sponsor functions barefoot, in jeans and t-shirt.

Hunt got the nickname "Hunt the Shunt" for his wild on-track antics that often drew the ire of other drivers in what was an incredibly dangerous time for the sport. (Hunt lost close friend Ronnie Peterson in 1978.)

When retired, Hunt's BBC commentary was forthright and funny. He died young in 1993 after years of 'playing hard', just short of his 46th birthday. Lauda however has continued to apply his no-nonsense approach to the sport, to the delight of anyone looking for a controversial quote.

While Hunt's career went into decline in 1977 and 1978, Lauda retired on the spot after practice at the Canadian Grand Prix, announcing he no longer wished to "drive around in circles."

He returned to the sport three years later to help fund his fledgling airline, signing for McLaren for the 1982 season and later winning the 1984 World Championship.

These were remarkable people in remarkable times in Formula One.

Lauda and Hunt, though poles apart in character and style, each made an indelible mark on what was then a sport for the exceptionally brave.

Rush will hit our screens in September 2013.