When gentleman driver Frank DePew purchased the assets of Rebel Rock Racing in 2018, he knew he was in for a rough ride. Not only would he be testing his skills as a race car driver, but he’d also be rebuilding this team from the ground up. And now, we get an inside look at what it was like to go racing with the “Rookie Season” documentary, directed by Adrian Bonvento.
This 76-minute documentary is available for rent on Vimeo for $3.99, and, in my opinion, is totally worth it. We so often get documentaries about difficult seasons in retrospect, so to see things play out in real time — to hear the frustrations of the team as they finished dead last in the 49-car field for the 2019 Rolex 24, for example — is something special.
To fill out his team, DePew hired 29-time race winner Robin Liddell as his co-driver and Joe Hall as his crew chief. Together, they navigated the twists and turns of a frankly unpredictable season.
Adrian Bonvento was there to capture all the details because he was there for the duration of the season. The documentary draws on filmed content, in-car cameras, interviews, and overheard discussions in the pit lane and garage to help viewers feel like they’re there.
If you watched IMSA’s 2019 season, you already know the Rebel Rock Racing story. The team started out a bit of a hot mess, but by the middle of the season, they were scoring wins at tracks like Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road America, the latter of which serves as the high point of the film.
I’ve had this film pulled up on my laptop for weeks before I finally got to sit down and watch it, and I was seriously upset I didn’t do it sooner. The camera work here is great, and the story is a fascinating one for anyone interested in racing and the unique challenges it takes to field a team in IMSA.