IMAX film "Super Speedway" opens in Baltimore

"Super Speedway" Opens in Baltimore Baltimore, MD, January 21, 1998 Hang onto your hats - and your seats. On January 22, the IMAX film "Super Speedway" opens at the Maryland Science Center, 601 Light Street, Baltimore. The film accompanies...

"Super Speedway" Opens in Baltimore

Baltimore, MD, January 21, 1998

Hang onto your hats - and your seats. On January 22, the IMAX film "Super Speedway" opens at the Maryland Science Center, 601 Light Street, Baltimore. The film accompanies the debut of the museum's new 4,000 square foot exhibit "Racecar: The Science of Speed". "Super Speedway" is playing through May 21.

"Super Speedway" follows Lola cars and the Newman-Haas team as they design and shake down a new car for the grueling 1996 Championship Auto Racing Teams circuit. You follow the development from the first clay models through fitting the car to driver Michael Andretti through trial and triumph on the race track. You experience the thrill of being on the track, riding with legendary Mario Andretti as he hurtles the new car (equipped with an IMAX camera) around some of the fastest race tracks in the world.

Quiet moments in the film recall the stunning career of Mario Andretti. He's shown at home relaxing with his family, talking about what his racing and his family mean to him.

A parallel story line shows the patient restoration of a 1964 Indianapolis roadster, shown being discovered in a barn. Differences between that car and the 1996 Lola help explain what the Newman-Haas team is up against as they ready their new car. The identity of the roadster is revealed in remarkable final scene.

The spectacle of superspeedway racing is captured in full detail by the IMAX 15/70 image (three times bigger than standard 70 mm film) and projected onto the multi-story high screen at the MSC. The accompanying six channel sound system, with sub-bass, puts your body as well as your eyes through the experience. The film is narrated, appropriately, by Paul Newman, the "Newman" half of Newman-Haas Racing.

Mario Andretti is the only man to have won the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500 and the Formula One World Driving Championship. Early in his career, he acheived the incredible feat of winning three midget race features in a single day. The following season, he was driving the famous Dean Van Lines roadster on the Championship Trail. A year after that, he was Rookie of the Year at Indianapolis and National Champion. And that was only the beginning.

Mr. Andretti was on hand at a special press preview today. He talked of the experience of making the film, and of the challenge of driving the highly tuned Lola with a 65 pound IMAX camera bolted to the roll bar. When he learned that the camera was worth a million dollars, he asked what he should do if he thought he was going to crash. The answer was that he should make sure the camera was on.

Almost all of the on-car camera work was done with Mario at the wheel. Each load of film lasted three minutes, at a cost of $4500. Mario worked efficiently: 90% of the film shot on the track was used in the movie. He recounted two scenes that did not make it. At Elkhart Lake, driving and filming in the rain, son Michael spun in front of him. Only the skill of both drivers kept Mario from T-boning Michael. Unfortunately, the rain also brought wet leaves, and the IMAX's camera lens was blocked. At Sebring, with the camera pointed from Mario's car back toward Michael's, Mario's engine exploded. Mario thought that the exploding engine and Michael's ensuing spin in the oil would have made a wonderful scene. Unfortunately, it happened just before he was going to switch the camera on.

"Racecar: The Science of Speed" is the newest hands-on exhibit at the Science Center. You can get behind the wheel to experience a racing simulator and examine modern racing safety gear. You can try changing a race tire against the clock. Try your reaction time against dragstrip "Christmas tree" starting lights. Learn how safety engineering has been put to the test to protect today's race drivers. Try hands-on exhibits of race car aerodynamic testing.

Several race cars are on display, including a disassembled Winston Cup car showing the internal components and safety features. The highlight of the car exhibit is the 1964 Roadster shown being restored in the film.

"Racecar: The Science of Speed" will be at the Maryland Science Center through mid-May, and is one of over a dozen major exhibits at the Center. The Davis Planetarium is currently showing "Follow the Drinking Gourd: The Stars of Freedom", which shows how the Big Dipper was used as a means of navigation on the underground railway.

The Maryland Science Center is located at 601 Light Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230, at the Baltimore Inner Harbor. It is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily, and 10 am to 6 pm weekends. Admission is $9 for adults, and $7 for children, seniors and military. Admission includes the IMAX film. "Super Speedway" is shown hourly from noon to 4 pm weekdays, and 11 am to 4 pm weekends. Friday and Saturday evenings, through April 18, there is a double feature of "Cosmic Voyage" and "Super Speedway".

Information is available 24 hours a day at (410) 685-5225, or on the web at

Ken Plotkin Motorsport News International

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Series General
Drivers Michael Andretti , Mario Andretti