"Avengers" and "Thor" star Chris Hemsworth toplines Ron Howard’s upcoming racing drama "Rush," and a new trailer emphasizes the film's sleek automotive action, as well as the bitter rivalry at its center. 

Set in the 1970s, "Rush" tells the true story of one of Formula One racing's biggest rivalries, between British driver James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Austrian Niki Lauda, played by German actor Daniel Brühl ("Inglourious Basterds," "The Bourne Ultimatum"). Olivia Wilde is also seen, just fleetingly, in the trailer.  

Watch it here:

"Rush" appears to offers plenty of heart-stopping race footage and death-defying stunts, which become inseparably from the alluring, sexy lifestyle afforded to the handsome young racers during the sport's golden age. Or, as Hunt puts it, "The risk of death turns people on." 

The film was was written by Peter Morgan, who specializes in dramatically recreating recent British history on the big screen, TV and theater stage, as displayed in the acclaimed films "The Queen," "The Damned United" and 2008's "Frost/Nixon," also directed by Howard.

With a fall release date, a rising leading man and an awards-friendly pedigree behind the scenes, Universal could be aiming at more than just racing fans, positioning "Rush" at the starting line for the race to award season.

"Rush" cruises into theaters September 20.

Dave Lewis has been a Los Angeles-based entertainment writer and editor for nearly ten years. Originally hailing from Minneapolis, he moved to L.A. in 1996 to attend USC, before working for various periodicals and web sites including a lengthy stint at Variety.com. He joined the HitFix staff in 2011.