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Cars & motorsport

Interview: Chris Hemsworth Opens Up About Watches and Racing

Fresh off from a whirlwind press junket to promote Avengers: Infinity War, Chris Hemsworth found himself in Indianapolis, Indiana for the Indy 500. We sat down with Chris just before the race to talk about watches, cars, and life.

By Josh Shanks

When given the opportunity to interview a movie star and all around nice guy Chris Hemsworth during last weekend’s Indy 500 festivities, we jumped at the chance.  

Over the last decade, Hemsworth has gained critical and box office acclaim for his roles as various as F1 Driver James Hunt to Thor. His relationship with TAG Heuer began a few years ago, with his role in the film ‘Rush’ which caught the eye of TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver, who at the time was reinvigorating TAG Heuer’s motor racing lineup. Hemsworth mentioned his ambassadorship with TAG Heuer came about quite naturally,

“They gifted me a watch during the shooting of the film, and then I purchased watches for the team as a thank you for wrapping the film, and Mr. Biver heard about this (purchase) and thought I’d be a good fit, and we started an official relationship, I just loved their watches, so it started quite organically.”

The watch in question (his first nice watch in fact) that piqued Hemsworth’s interest was the Carrera Calibre 36 Automatic Flyback Chronograph. Produced in 2013 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Carrera.

Hemsworth’s Roots in Motor Racing

Beyond the film realm, the Australian native has deep roots in the world of motorsports, with his father racing motorcycles competitively in the 1970s and Hemsworth enjoying his fair share of fast cars and speed. A self-proclaimed adrenaline junky, Hemsworth comes to the world of racing with an effortless comfortability.

As Hemsworth explains,

“My dad used to race and still does actually, so I’ve had a definite enthusiasm and passion for it from him, and last year I was in Monaco (for the Grand Prix with TAG Heuer) and it was incredible"

An Aussie in a foreign land

This trip to Indiana was also Hemsworth’s first time in the Indiana and I could tell that he found curiosity in my home state, remarking,

“I went for a walk yesterday afternoon, saw some people peddling a beer peddle cart, if I would have had a disguise, I would’ve liked to jump on and roll around, it’s a great city man, the enthusiasm and excitement of this event is contagious”

At our race day breakfast, TAG Heuer VP of Marketing Andrea Soriani presented Hemsworth with a Carrera Heuer 01 Chronograph Indy 500 Special Edition which Hemsworth proudly wore throughout the day. After all, the Indy 500 couldn’t start without Hemsworth’s official duty of waving the green flag. On the morning of the race, Hemsworth posted a hilarious video to Instagram which showed his rigorous training exercise for his flag waving duties.

Drivers Start Your Engines!

When it came time to wave the green flag, Hemsworth climbed the flag stand, soaked in Kelly Clarkson’s National Anthem and watched a powerful B-2 bomber flyover. Once the track cleared and only 33 cars remained on the main stretch, parade laps began and Hemsworth orchestrated a masterful figure eight wave of the green flag and we were off to the races!

Being a TAG Heuer brand ambassador, Hemsworth clearly had a favorite in the race in fellow ambassador Alexander Rossi. However, when asked, Hemsworth did admit that he had a soft spot for fellow Aussie Will Powers.

Throughout the day, we enjoyed a masterful display of driving for 200 laps and over 25 different lead changes. TAG Heuer ambassador Rossi made it as high as third position. But in the end, Hemsworth’s senses proved correct. Will Power dominated the closing laps of the race and rolled over the famous yard of bricks to his first Indy 500 win.

It wasn’t long after the race that Hemsworth headed back to his Australian home in Byron Bay. A family man returning to his wife and kids after a whirlwind overseas adventure. In looking at the various paparazzi photos taken upon his return to Sydney you could clearly spot the Heuer 01 Indy 500 Chronograph on his wrist. Proving that Hemsworth’s role as ambassador doesn’t stop the minute an event ends. And while he’s been making the rounds with TAG Heuer to promote their various activities, I can personally attest that Hemsworth had a sparkle in his deep blue eyes when gazing from the iconic Indy pagoda out to the sea of fans and renowned drivers. Hemsworth mentioned that this was an event he wouldn’t soon forget.

(Photography by Liam O’Donnell)

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