(via INDYCAR.com) – It’s widely known that Verizon IndyCar Series drivers possess superhuman powers. INDYCAR thinks it is now time to present the unique abilities of four drivers in “The Fast Four,” an animated video debuting today on its social channels. The video is an entertaining effort that encourages fans to follow their heroes at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg, the 2018 season opener on March 11.
“INDYCAR takes to the track each week highlighting the superhuman agility and skills of it drivers,” said C.J. O’Donnell, INDYCAR’s chief marketing officer who shepherded the project. “It’s like the stuff you only see in Marvel comics. And it’s about time we treat it that way.”
“The Fast Four” consists of drivers Scott Dixon, James Hinchcliffe, Josef Newgarden and Takuma Sato. In the series developed by Soldier Design, a brand-building company with headquarters in Boston, each driver possesses a special power that helps him succeed on the racetrack. While fictional in nature, the videos light-heartedly point out that it takes more than average driving skill to be a winner in the fastest open-wheel racing series on the planet.
O’Donnell says the series demonstrates, in a fun way, what tremendous and specialized athletes that Verizon IndyCar Series drivers are.
“We always point to our drivers as being athletes, having skills and powers that make them stand apart from just about anybody else,” O’Donnell said. “To champion our heroes is elevating them, their persona, their abilities on the track – and putting a spotlight on it.”
And it’s all done in the popular anime format with a respectful nod to one of the earliest and still most-admired series in the genre, “Speed Racer,” the 1960s Japanese cartoon about a race car driver.
“The quality of the animation is excellent. It’s very ‘Speed Racer’ with the quirkiness and spirit of the original series. It’s certainly a nod to the past but with graphics that are very relevant today,” explained O’Donnell.
“The Fast Four” debuts today on INDYCAR’s social platforms and on IndyCar.com, though teaser photos and video snippets have been circulating on the sanctioning body’s social channels. The episode explains the individual power each driver possesses, showing how it helps him conquer the competition.
- Dixon, the four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion and winner of 41 career races (fourth-most all time), is regarded for his cool demeanor under pressure, so his alter ego in the video is “The Iceman.” With his power, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver “can harness atmospheric speed molecules to freeze time in the heat of action” – also called “chrono-kinesis.”
- Hinchcliffe is still called “The Mayor” in the video, just like in the fictional online Hinchtown community he created. But in “The Fast Four,” the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver can “govern” gravity as he makes his way around the track.
- Newgarden, the reigning series champion for Team Penske, is “The Spark,” whose eye can see ahead of the field in a race and help him make the right move at the right time.
- Sato, winner of last year’s Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil and driving this season for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, is “The Fighter,” whose indestructible hand can put victory back together when it seems impossible.
The video series presents an exciting new way to amplify the heroic characteristics of Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that will resonate with a new audience.
“I think it reinforces the values of the sport,” O’Donnell said. “It’s unexpected, appealing to younger people and good for social platforms. The goal is to elevate the driver, highlight the start of the season and push tune-in for the race broadcast. And yes, it’s meant to be fun.”
The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season opens with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 11 (12:30 p.m. ET, ABC and Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network). The schedule totals 17 races in all, including the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil on May 27. All races are televised by either ABC or NBCSN. Each also airs live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.