Super Speedway

1997 / filmed in 15/70 (IMAX)

Synopsis

Buckle up. Super Speedway delves into the death-defying drama of Indy car racing and weaves together the stories of some of the masters of the high-speed track. Super Speedway puts audiences in the cockpit of an Indy car and catapults them into world championship auto racing action at mind-bending speeds in excess of 230 miles per hour.

At the core of the film’s action is Michael Andretti, taking on the challenge of testing a newly fabricated car and, ultimately driving it in hot pursuit of the championship in the PPG CART World Series. Michael’s struggle is seen in part through the eyes of his father, Mario, who participates in testing the new car and reflects on his own racing experiences and on the art, science and risk of high-speed competition. As a driving legend and as Michael Andretti’s father, Mario provides audiences with insight into the driver’s psyche, the balancing of risk and opportunity, and the unique relationship that exists between two generations of champions.

About the Film

Super Speedway is a Stephen Low film; Pietro L. Serapiglia and Stephen Low, Producers; Goulam Amarsy, Executive Producer.

Release date: 1997
Production format: 15/70
Duration: 48 min. and 40 min. versions
Produced by Openwheel Productions Inc. / The Stephen Low Company
Distributed by: The Stephen Low Company
Available for license in 15/70, 8/70 formats
Available on Blu-ray and DVD in stores and online
Here is a review: http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/movies.php?id=1160&show=review

Awards

Golden Wheel AwardSuper Speedway; International Reel Wheel Film Festival, Knoxville, Iowa, 2009

Best Entertainment DVDSuper Speedway; European DVD Awards, Dublin Castle, 1999

Production Notes

Getting Started. The development of Super Speedway got under way in 1993. Stephen Low, a longtime enthusiast of open-wheel racing, had harboured the dream of producing a film about auto racing since his father, acclaimed filmmaker Colin Low, filmed Jimmy Clark winning the Indy 500 in 1965.

From start to finish, the Super Speedway project took just over four years. By the time the pieces of the production puzzle fell into place, the producers of the film had succeeded in getting Newman/Haas Racing, a top racing team, to field and maintain an actual Indy car equipped with an IMAX camera; convinced legendary driver Mario Andretti to pilot the camera car; landed Mario and his son, racing star Michael Andretti, as subjects of the film; and secured IMAX coverage of the teams and drivers of the PPG CART World Series on the track and in racing action. To top it all off, the production team had miraculously stumbled across the work of expert car restorer Don Lyons. Lyons was in the process of restoring the wreckage of a classic 1964 roadster — a unique, hand-built machine (the last of its kind ever made) that was driven in 1964 by a rookie driver named Mario Andretti.

Super Speedway was filmed from an Indy car driven by Mario Andretti under real race conditions and at race speeds—the first giant screen film to feature extensive high-speed track action. The Lola camera car was originally driven to victory by Nigel Mansel in the 1994 season.

For Real. Stephen Low and Mario Andretti were only interested in shooting a film that conveyed the reality of driving a race car at speeds up to 240 miles per hour. On the track, Andretti proved to be an exceptional camera operator with a natural feel for shooting, an instinctive finesse that contributed strongly to the power of the final movie experience. “Stephen explained that even with that big lump of a camera on the car, he expected me to drive as hard as I could,” says Andretti. “And I thought, now you’re talking my language. I didn’t want to just cruise around and be a donkey out there. They were looking for somebody who really wanted to put some teeth into the deal. I said to him, ‘Well, okay, let’s not use any trickery in the filming, no speeding up the camera. Let’s just be realistic. If we can represent reality, then I’ll do it.’ And we never looked back.”

Credits

Stephen Low
Director/Producer

Pietro L. Serapiglia
Producer/Distributor

Paul Newman
Narrator

Goulam Amarsy
Executive Producer

James Lahti
Film Editor

Andrew Kitzanuk
Cinematographer

Bill Reeve
IMAX® Camera Specialist

Gilles Ouellet
Composer

Participating Organizations:
Newman/Haas Racing (technical and logistical support and on-screen participation)
Texaco (sponsor)
Kmart (sponsor)
Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), (location support and team participation)
Banque Nationale de Paris, Canada (production financing)
SODEC (Société de développement des entreprises culturelles), Quebec
CAVCO (Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office)

 

Clippings

Super Speedway is now available on Blu-ray. Here is a review:
http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/movies.php?id=1160&show=review

“Dizzying, Touching and Lyrical…
Film history has seen a number of racing car movies…but nothing remotely like Super Speedway.

— Chicago Tribune

“A visceral high-definition treat
— American Cinematographer

“Race to see it!
— Toronto Sun

“Exhilarating
— The Gazette, Montreal

“What it’s really like to drive an Indy car”
— Vancouver Sun

Fast Facts

  1. At top speeds in excess of 230 miles per hour, an Indy car is traveling more than a football field every second.
  2. An Indy car weighs only 1,550 pounds, 220 pounds less than the diminutive Suzuki Swift!
  3. An Indy car rolling chassis (the car without its engine, turbocharger, electronics or tires) costs approximately $420,000 U.S.
  4. Indy cars have a maximum length of 16 feet 3 inches (4.95 metres), a maximum width of 6 feet 6 inches (1.99 metres) and a maximum height of 2 feet 8 inches (.81 metres).
  5. Sweating can cause a driver to lose up to 10 pounds (4.5 kilos) during a two-hour race.
  6. At speed, Indy cars produce so much downforce they could drive upside down on an inverted track!
  7. Indy cars can generate four Gs (four times the Earth’s gravity) of lateral acceleration driving around the fastest corners.
  8. The side tunnels of Indy cars generate so much suction that manhole covers found on temporary street circuits must be welded down so they are not sucked off when the cars pass over them.
  9. Mario Andretti held the world closed-course speed record; he lapped the Michigan International Speedway at a speed of 234.275 miles per hour (377.042 km/h) on July 31, 1993 (broken by Jimmy Vasser, age 31, in 1996).
  10. In 1990, Al Unser Jr. drove the fastest 500-mile race ever, averaging a speed of 189.727 miles per hour (305.347 km/h) at Michigan International Speedway.
  11. In 1995, Canadian Jacques Villeneuve became the youngest ever CART Champion at the age of 24.