Navigation Bar - Text Links at Bottom of Page


The Cars, The Racetracks And The Birth Of
Speed Racer's thundering Mach 5 is perhaps one of the world's most recognizable cars onscreen. Its aggressive profile, complemented by a glossy, white finish with a red ‘M' emblazoned across the hood, is firmly etched in the minds of "Speed Racer” fans around the world. While the updated design of the Mach 5 could have gone in a number of directions, "we eventually came back to a semi-retro look with very sleek lines,” says production designer Owen Paterson.

"After exploring several possibilities, Larry and Andy looked at the original Mach 5's iconic profile and decided to retain the essence of the original because its look is truly timeless and unique,” says Joel Silver.

While the Mach 5 will always be the car most closely associated with Speed Racer in the minds of diehard fans, the Wachowskis upped the ante by introducing a new generation of the Mach series—the Mach 6.

"As can be expected with Larry and Andy, they also wanted to break new ground here,” says Paterson. "For the Mach 6, which is used strictly for track racing in the World Racing League, we went for a very bold-yet-refined profile, and maintained the color scheme and overall ‘M' shape of the Mach 5.”

Furthermore, "Larry and Andy coined a term to describe the Mach 6 and cars in its class in the film,” continues the production designer. "They called these types of cars ‘T180s' for their ability to turn their wheels 180 degrees and drift across banks sideways, generating several Gs of lateral acceleration.”

Paterson and his team began work nearly a year in advance of principal photography to create more than 100 individual car designs. "In our world we have architects, but in the world of ‘Speed Racer' people hire ‘carchitects' to custom build their vehicles,” Paterson states.

"We brought together some of the most talented artists in the field, from storyboard artists to top designers within the automotive industry. We wanted to have fun with them and let everyone bounce ideas off of one another,” says Hill.

Once the car designs were approved, they were modeled and painted in a digital environment. Additionally, Speed's Mach 5 and Racer X's Shooting Star were physically constructed in full-scale for use in certain scenes. And while you could sit in the cockpit of each car, these full-size replicas weren't actually going anywhere as no power trains were installed. All of the high-flying, hard-hitting car action in the film was rendered digitally with CGI.

The filmmakers initially contemplated the possibility of shooting race sequences in the film using real cars on practical racetracks. However, Paterson notes, "Given the style of our cars and the high-impact action that we wanted to achieve, it made much more sense to create it digitally.”

"At the speeds they're driving and with the combative techniques they use, there are a lot of precarious moments on the track,” says visual effects supervisor Dan Glass. "It's an extremely dangerous-looking sport, but no one gets seriously hurt, because we've developed a special device that protects the driver.”

Visual effects supervisor John Gaeta adds, "Larry and Andy came up with a safety feature they call ‘Kwiksave Foam,' which is like a big rubber ball that inflates around the driver to protect them in the event of a crash. This is standard equipment on all of the cars that compete in the World Racing League.”

As impressive as the cars are, they needed an equally dramatic place to show off their moves. "The Wachowski brothers' first directive was, ‘Our racetracks should be a cross between a giant ski slalom and a skateboard park,'” recalls Paterson.

"Larry and Andy felt strongly about making sure that each of the races looked very different from each other,” says Silver. "Since we have the freedom to build tracks and ba

Next Production Note Section


Home | Theaters | Video | TV

Your Comments and Suggestions are Always Welcome.

2018 6,  All Rights Reserved.


Find:  HELP!