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James Hunt Rush actor Chris Hemsworth to serve as Indy 500 starter

Chris Hemsworth Formula E New York 2017

Actor Chris Hemsworth, star of the Formula 1 film Rush, will serve as start of the 2018 Indianapolis 500.

Hemsworth played James Hunt in Ron Howard's biopic about Hunt and Niki Lauda's rivalry during the 1976 F1 season, and is most famous for his role as Thor in the Marvel franchise.

He is linked to the Indy 500 by virtue of a TAG Heuer ambassadorial role, with the watchmaker a sponsor of the race and the IndyCar series.

"I am very excited for the Indy 500 this year," he said.

"As a TAG Heuer ambassador and motorsport fan, it's an incredible honour to wave the green flag.

"It is going to be an exciting moment, and I am happy to be here with TAG Heuer."

Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J Douglas Boles added: "The Indianapolis 500 is the greatest race in the world and the largest single-day sporting event on the planet, so it's fitting we will have a globally recognized and applauded figure in the flag stand.

"Chris is a true sporting fan who is going to embrace the IMS experience and enjoy seeing 33 cars race down the front stretch at our iconic facility."

Hemsworth's Indy 500 role continues a recent trend of actors waving the green flag at the race, following the lead of sometime World Endurance Championship driver Patrick Dempsey, Chris Pine and Jake Gyllenhaal in the last three years.

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