American race car driver Bobby Deerfield (Al Pacino) has become a success on the European Formula One circuit. He is also egotistical and relentlessly determined, until a terrible racing accident injures other drivers. In the hospital, Deerfield meets Lillian (Marthe Keller), who is suffering serious health problems. She wants to have more excitement in her life and gravitates toward the racer. Although Deerfield is resistant at first, he begins to fall for her as well.