Siegfried Rauch is one of Germany’s most successful actors. He landed the role of a lifetime as a race-car driver in the movie Le Mans, starring Steve McQueen. Their working relationship turned into a true friendship.
Mr. Rauch, you were in the epic movie "Le Mans" in 1971, together with Steve McQueen. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you reminisce about the film?
Steve was an absolute perfectionist. During the pit-stop scenes, we had to take off our helmets and look like we were sweating. So the makeup artist sprayed some water onto our faces. But Steve objected. “No, no, no—that won’t work!” He jumped into the car and drove two laps like a madman, then removed his helmet and said, “See, Siggi, now I’m sweating for real. And no makeup artist can make the veins throb on my forehead.” For Steve, everything had to be authentic, which is something I’ve always admired.
How exactly did you meet?
It was about a week after we had started shooting Le Mans. So far, we hadn’t exchanged a single word. Everyone on the set wanted to talk to him, but of course that wasn’t possible. So I thought I’d leave him in peace and just let him do his work. That seemed to impress him. Finally he came over to me and said, “How come you never talk to me?” So I told him, and he thought that was great. From then on we hung out together all the time, from morning to evening.
How did you learn how to drive fast?
I bought a
You stayed in touch with McQueen after the movie was finished. What did the two of you share?
Sometimes you meet someone for the first time and think, “Hey, I feel like I’ve known this guy for ages.” That was what it was like for Steve and me. Our childhoods were similar: we both grew up in modest circumstances—he in America and I in Bavaria. He also had a straightforward personality and didn’t act like a star. When the movie was finished, he asked if I’d like to go on a short trip with him to Paris. We did that and had a whale of a time.
And then you went your separate ways?
No, when our trip to Paris was over, he stood in front of me and didn’t say anything. But I understood him anyway, and sensed that he really wanted to come to southern Germany. “You’d like to visit me in Bavaria, right?” I asked. “Yes,” he said.
The godfather of your son Benedikt, he came to Untersöchering for the baptism, but showed up late.
Steve really wanted to find our village on his own. He managed to make it as far as Murnau, and then he got lost. So he asked a girl for directions. She was struck speechless, however, and could only keep murmuring, “Steve McQueen.” So he ended up arriving half an hour late.
Text by Sven Freese
* Data determined in accordance with the measurement method required by law. Since September 01, 2017 certain new cars have been type approved in accordance with the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), a more realistic test procedure to measure fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. From September 01, 2018 the WLTP will replace the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). Due to the more realistic test conditions, the fuel consumption and CO2 emission values determined in accordance with the WLTP will, in many cases, be higher than those determined in accordance with the NEDC. This may lead to corresponding changes in vehicle taxation from September 01, 2018. You can find more information on the difference between WLTP and NEDC at www.porsche.com/wltp.
Currently, we are still obliged to provide the NEDC values, irrespective of the testing method used. The additional reporting of the WLTP values is voluntary until their obligatory use. As far as new cars, (which are type approved in accordance with the WLTP) are concerned, the NEDC values will therefore be derived from the WLTP values during the transition period. To the extent that NEDC values are given as ranges, these do not relate to a single, individual car and do not constitute part of the offer. They are intended solely as a means of comparing different types of vehicle. Extra features and accessories (attachments, tyre formats etc.) can change relevant vehicle parameters such as weight, rolling resistance and aerodynamics. Additionally, weather and traffic conditions, as well as individual handling, can affect the fuel consumption, electricity consumption, CO₂ emissions and performance values of a car.