Isle of Man TT boss opens up about Drive to Survive style docuseries and Hollywood-backed film

1 of 13

Head of Motorsport for the annual Isle of Man TT races, Paul Phillips has expressed both his excitement and concerns following the announcement that the racing festival is to get a Hollywood-backed Formula 1: Drive to Survive style docuseries and feature film.

Announced on May 28 during the early stages of TT 2024 practice week, the road racing festival is being produced by Box to Box Films who have been behind popular Netflix shows including Formula1: Drive To Survive, Full Swing, and Tour de France: Unchained.

Although no streaming service has been officially announced for this project, the series is set to be called The Greatest Race on Earth and should air in 2025. It’s also backed by A-list actors Channing Tatum and Brad Pitt’s production companies, Free Association and Plan B Entertainment.

Action from the Isle of Man TT

“From the docuseries, non-scripted element that’s actually been already running for months,” Paul Phillips exclusively told MCN. “But we’re in a world that’s new to us – different time schedules, Cannes Film Festival, and all these other things that one wouldn’t be considering normally.”

Rumours of a Hollywood production began circulating amongst fans last year, with Channing Tatum visiting the 2023 races to further immerse himself in the action. He was seen in the paddock chatting with teams and riders, as well as out on the course.

What’s more, ahead of this year’s TT, Box to Box spent time with Davey Todd filming his preparations for the event – as well as visiting Honda Racing’s Dean Harrison at his home.

Davey Todd and Dean Harrison pose with fans at the TT

“The important thing to note is that we’re not making this,” Phillips continued. “So, we are allowing this to be made, and the intention is to take the story of the TT races to a properly international audience with a major streamer and grow awareness of the TT very quickly.

“The mention of the scripted element, the feature film – which I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn by saying would be the most expensive element of the project – will, one would suspect, require a bigger existing audience before it reaches distribution.”

Production company plan B was co-founded by Brad Pitt in 2001 and has been responsible for high profile films including 12 Years a Slave, which won three Oscars and starred Pitt alongside Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, and more.

Filming is underway fro the docuseries

Further to this, Box to Box co-founder James Gay-Rees was also a producer on sporting feature films including Senna and Diego Maradona.

“It’s a great privilege to be working with these partners on this extremely unique project,” Gay-Rees said. “The Isle of Man TT is one of the most visceral, exhilarating and unusual events in the motorsport diary. We can’t wait to bring this incredible world to new audiences.”

Although clearly enthusiastic about the productions, Paul Phillips was also honest about the challenges it could bring to the annual event, saying: “It’s important to remember that the bigger the win, the potential bigger the risk.

Michael Dunlop on track at the TT

“I think more than anything, if you properly globalise something, there will just be more scrutiny and I don’t necessarily mean around the obvious things that you might think that we would be concerned about – so like the risk profile of it.”

He continued: “It’s more around things like environmental sustainability, around operating procedures, around competence – just all that kind of stuff. There will be greater awareness of everything that goes on and there needs to be adjustment for everybody involved for that.”