Buckle your seat belts and bring your ear plugs, Super Speedway, the new IMAX film featuring Mario Andretti opens Friday at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ.
Super Speedway made its U.S. premiere Wednesday night at the Liberty Science Center and Mario Andertti was there to discuss the project. It's intersting to note that Mario's involvement was originally limited to fifteen days. Mario was very pleased to work with director Stephen Low because Low's vision was to give movie goers a sense of actual race speeds. Mario was not interested in working on a film where all the other cars where passing him.
Mario let out a secret that may have put other drivers at ease, had they known, after they raced against him in the practice sessions at CART races across the country. Since the camera car was carrying an extra 60 pounds and since the car did not have to meet CART's scrutinering, the Newman-Haas team made sure that the car Mario was using had a little extra power. Mario said that he had an extra two hundred horsepower in the camera car. Andretti noted that several drivers were not able to pass him, even with the huge IMAX camera mounted to the top of the car.
The film is the story of Michael Andretti's development of his Lola race car. From the original mock up to the car's first win we are treated to an inside view of the Andretti's racing world. When Michael talks about the car being loose or pushing, we are not given an explanation of these terms. For the casual viewer the emotions of the moment are captured by the sweat on Michael's brow and the exasperated look on Michael's face. Anyone could tell the car is not running well.
Intertwined in this story is the story of Don Lyons and the restoration of Mario's Dean Van Lines Kuzma Roadster which Mario drove in the mid 60s. Mario is reunited with the roadster after Lyons spent two years restoring the car.
Filmed at Sebring, Michigan, Mid-Ohio, Toronto and Road America, the film gives the viewer a great sensation of speed. As Michael said after one screening "Gee, I didn't realize we went that fast". The audio is superb and when played at the levels it was Wednesday night, sounds just like you were standing trackside. There is no difference. Ear plugs may be necessary for those with sensitive ears.
Engineers will enjoy this film as it gives one a chance to view components of the car in action at IMAX size. Director Stephen Low spoke of a screening with Lola designer Eric Broadley where the designer sat through five screenings in order to watch the vibrations of the rear wing in action.
This film should be enjoyable for a wide range of audiences. Race fans will love it and will probably want to see it more than one. The Liberty Science Center theater is an OMNIMAX theater which is shown on a huge curved screen. I thought that this format moved too much of the film into one's peripheral vision. I look forward to seeing the film again on a flat IMAX screen.
__ David Reininger's Paper Race http://www.motorsport.com/paper-race