Renner toys with 'World's Best Driver' title
It's possible to call Ronnie Renner, who on Sunday in Barcelona, Spain, won his fourth X Games gold medal in Moto X Step Up the "Greatest Step Up Rider" ever. But earlier this month he beat out seven other drivers to earn the title of "World's Best Driver" from Hot Wheels in the toy company's latest promotional film campaign (watch it in the above video).
"Now I've got a big target on my back if I ever start racing four-wheel," said Renner, whose Step Up golds are tied with Matt Buyten and Tommy Clowers for the most in X Games history. "'World's Best Driver,' are you kidding me?"It probably didn't hurt that the Hot Wheels video director Mike "Mouse" McCoy has an affinity for motor bikes. McCoy was a successful motorcycle racer before turning to film stunt work and producing. He directed and produced a Hot Wheels 2011 "Fearless at the 500" documentary and worked on the Double Loop Dare at X Games Los Angeles 2012.
"I've known Mouse for quite a few years through the Day in the Dirt racing days. Obviously I look up to him a lot as a filmmaker and rider because he's done some amazing stuff," Renner, 35, said. "'Dust To Glory' [a documentary that McCoy had a role in and co-produced] is one of my favorite movies. To watch his little trial and error process of Ironmanning to Baja [racing solo in the Baja 1000] you respect him on a lot of different levels."
Renner has been a part of the Team Hot Wheels campaign for a few years, and he said his experience flipping bikes probably helped in being chosen to be the driver who flips a car in the climactic scene and wins the race in the "World's Best Driver" video that features eight stunt drivers competing for that title in different vehicles at the fictional Hot Wheels Test Facility.
"I think knowing that I'm a guy who knows that feeling of rotation … so I was a good candidate," Renner said of driving the custom-made, centered, single-seat car. "I think they knew they wanted to end it with a flip."
Legendary race car driver Mario Andretti makes a cameo in the film. Renner appreciated being in the company of the 1967 Daytona 500 winner, 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1978 Formula One champion.
"Such a cool guy," Renner said. "You know you're mixing it up with the right people when you can tell a guy like Mario is stoked to be out there and it's not like an obligation to him." Other notables in the film are monster truck driver Casey Currie, TORC off-road championship series pro light driver Luke Johnson, BMX rider Aaron Ross, endurocross rider Geoff Aaron and FMX rider Bryce Hudson.
Ironically, Hudson was Renner's teammate on the Red Team, but a little more than two weeks before the video debuted online the 22-year-old beat him for the gold medal in Step Up at X Games Brazil.
"You know, I throw the kid a bone, help him get the gig," Renner joked. "I was the Red Rider the last two years and because I had to focus on the car stuff we had to find another dude. And I'm like, 'Yeah, Bryce is a good kid.' So he comes in, gets the gig and he's real appreciative and then he beats me at X Games. Can you believe that?"