Big Movie Zone Blog Press Releases Teacher's Guides Community
Features and Reviews

BMZ Review: Super Speedway
By Ross Anthony


Super Mario
Written by: Ross Anthony
Source: Ross Anthony's Hollywood Report Card
Date: March 2001


Category: Reviews

Don't expect this production to be like those big screen "rides" available at amusement parks or malls, something where a camera is mounted to the hood of a car, plane or skateboarder and you as the viewer are taken on a non-stop race around land, air and sea. Though elements of that push-to-the-limits speed appear in this film, "Super Speedway" is much more of a documentary than a ride. But it's a good one.

Appropriately, Paul Newman narrates this tale of the Indy Car. Watch as the Carl Haas and Paul Newman (Andretti) team designs a clay model Indy body which is translated into a mold by computer, then forged into fiberglass. Test drive the car along with Mike and father Mario Andretti. See how the aerodynamics of the design behave in a wind tunnel. Retired racing legend Mario Andretti speaks frankly about watching his son, while reminiscing with quips about the wild world of racing. He's very likable.

Then after all the testing and tuning and modifying ... Mike gets in the car and races. Cuts from at least 4 different events for that season are included - both defeats and victories. These "in the car" scenes make up roughly fifteen percent of the film -- good honest action, unexaggerated by film tricks.

The producers weave in a secondary story, that of a mechanic who restores a 1964 roadster. In the first scene of the film, a tractor pulls this rusted heap of a vehicle out of a barn. Chickens scurry and hay scatters. In the end, Mario Andretti climbs into the beautifully restored roadster (one he'd test-driven in the early years of his career).

Warm, entertaining, educational, professionally constructed, this is the first time I'd been able to appreciate and "feel" the reality of those speeds.

Facts from the production notes:
"Participation in the project reached a climax when the full support of CART and the teams was obtained to put virtually all the cars in the series on the track for the camera just moments prior to the start of actual races. Twenty-five cars and drivers blasted around courses in Toronto; Brooklyn, Michigan; Lexington, Ohio; and Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, just minutes prior to start of each event. This unprecedented exercise provided Mario Andretti and the production crew with a truly unique opportunity to record the racing experience from the driver's viewpoint.

"The camera car driven by Mario Andretti was a two year-old Indy car acquired from Newman/Haas and maintained by Newman/Haas mechanics. The same car was driven by Mario Andretti and Nigel Mansel in competition in the 1994 PPG CART World Series."

"While the engine output of competing CART cars is constrained by stringent rules, the camera car was not under similar restriction. Competing cars are equipped with a mandatory 'pop-off' valve which governs the maximum power engines can generate and helps keep race speeds within acceptable limits. The 'pop-off' valve on the camera car was deactivated, providing the machine with significant additional power. The aerodynamic design features of the older car also generated greater downforce than has been available to cars under more recent CART rules. (Downforce, the product of wings and body shape, is the aerodynamic force which helps keep a fast moving car pressed to the track)."

Copyright (C) 2001. 
Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.  For more reviews visit:

Movie Reviews by Ross Anthony

National Parks Adventure
Journey to Space
Wild Africa
Space Next
Island of Lemurs: Madagascar
Flight of the Butterflies
To The Arctic 3D
Tornado Alley
Born to Be Wild
Sea Rex 3D: Journey to a Prehistoric World
Hubble 3D
Resident Evil: Afterlife: An IMAX 3D Experience
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: The IMAX Experience
Shrek Forever After: An IMAX 3D Experience
Iron Man 2: The IMAX Experience
The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest
Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey
The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D
Arabia 3D
Molecules to the MAX!
Avatar: An IMAX 3D Experience
Van Gogh: Brush With Genius
Journey to Mecca: In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta
Mysteries of the Great Lakes
The Dark Knight: The IMAX Experience
Kung Fu Panda: The IMAX Experience
Shine a Light: The IMAX Experience
Beowulf: An IMAX 3D Experience
Dinosaurs Alive! (3D/2D)
The Alps
Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs
Lions 3D: Roar of the Kalahari
Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure (3D/2D)
Greece: Secrets of the Past
Roving Mars
Wired to Win: Surviving the Tour de France
Wild Safari 3D: A South African Adventure
Mystery of the Nile
Mystic India
Aliens of the Deep (3D)
Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets
Rolling Stones at the Max
Sharks 3D
Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag
The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience
Roar: Lions of the Kalahari
Forces of Nature
Adventures in Animation (3D)
NASCAR: The IMAX Experience (3D/2D)
The Young Black Stallion
To Fly!
Silent Sky
Volcanoes of the Deep Sea
Texas: The Big Picture
Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey
Ocean Wonderland (3D)
India: Kingdom of the Tiger
Straight Up!: Helicopters in Action
Coral Reef Adventure
Bugs! (3D/2D)
Adrenaline Rush: The Science of Risk
Ghosts of the Abyss (3D)
The Lion King (IMAX/Giant Screen/Large Format Edition)
Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees
Treasure Planet (IMAX/Giant Screen/Large Format Edition)
Star Wars Ep. II, Attack of the Clones: The IMAX Experience
Santa vs. the Snowman (3D/2D)
Alaska: Spirit of the Wild
Africa: The Serengeti
Horses: The Story of Equus
Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa
Australia: Land Beyond Time
Ultimate X
Space Station 3D
Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West
Beauty and the Beast: Special Edition
The Human Body
Blue Planet
China: The Panda Adventure
Ocean Oasis
Lost Worlds: Life in the Balance
Ocean Men: Extreme Dive
Majestic White Horses
Amazing Journeys
Ski to the Max
Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure
NSync: Bigger Than Live
Super Speedway
Journey into Amazing Caves
ALL ACCESS: Front row, Backstage, LIVE!
Haunted Castle 3D
T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous (3D)
Wildfire: Feel the Heat
Encounter in the Third Dimension 3D
Mysteries of Egypt
Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Box (3D)
Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man (3D)
Michael Jordan to the Max
Cyberworld (3D)
Adventures in Wild California

Articles Archive: Newest to Oldest

Reviews Archive: Newest to Oldest