Monday, March 12, 2012

Turbo! IndyCar Goes Hollywood

Thanks IndyCar and DreamWorks

As I shared the other day, I'm a huge movie guy. So it was very cool news to hear that IndyCar and DreamWorks will be teaming up to release "Turbo", a racing and Indy 500-themed animated movie in the summer of 2013.

The movie, whose current release date is July 19, 2013, is about a snail who dreams of going fast and winning the Indy 500. Turbo loves racing, and gets the chance to chase his ambitions when a freak accident makes him the fastest snail alive.

Ryan Reynolds will be the voice of Turbo, while other well-known stars such Paul Giamatti, Samuel Jackson (whose talents will be slightly wasted because it should be a rated G or PG movie) and Snoop Dogg. Dario Franchitti is on board as a technical consultant.

This is another product of the IndyCar Entertainment division, which is a West Coast-based IndyCar office whose objective is to raise the exposure of IndyCar and its drivers in the entertainment world. So far it has been a successful venture, given the exposure created during Super Bowl week in Indy, as well as Michael Andretti's appearance on "Celebrity Apprentice".

This isn't a low-budget feature, it is a major motion picture backed by a huge production company and a nine-figure budget. No doubt this is a huge opportunity for IndyCar, and an even bigger chance to get the sport in front of the masses.

Probably the biggest impact will be the opportunity to appeal IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to the younger generation. I think that is huge, because when I started following racing when I was nine I became a fan for life. Getting children into open wheel racing and showing them the tradition of the Indy 500 will be something they will remember, trust me.

"Exposure". Young or old, that's what gets people into the sport. I can't even count how many people I know who at one time hated open wheel racing -- or racing in general -- but are now fans because of a trip they took to the Speedway or another track, or were friends, significant others and spouses of fans who got into it thanks to that person's passion and enthusiasm.

Right now IndyCar Nation is being built almost one fan at a time. What's it going to be like when (hopefully) millions of people go see this movie? Maybe they will want to read up on it, or check out a race on TV. I think one thing is for sure, the 2013 should have an event that weekend, as well as the next.

Just a couple weeks ago a few people were complaining that IndyCar was lagging behind in exposure to the masses. Guess those people need to think again.

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