Editorial

Champ Car rocks the streets of Times Square in Manhattan

 by Mark Cipolloni
April 10, 2004

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The residents of Manhattan awoke to something new today, the sound of a 750 horsepower Champ Car, with Herdez driver Ryan Hunter-Reay behind the wheel.  Champ Car made its first ever appearance on the streets of Manhattan today to film commercials for the upcoming season right smack in the middle of Times Square.  Directed by Adam Friedman, and with American heartthrob Ryan Hunter-Reay at the wheel, the crew filmed numerous versions of commercials that are intended to capture the viewer's imagination.

Closing the streets of Times Square for almost five hours on a Saturday morning is no easy feat and the fact that OWRS, Champ Car and Spike TV were able to make it happen speaks volumes of the influence this group has.  As you can see from some of the images below, the neon signs lining Times Square had the Champ Car Series plastered all over them, something unheard of under the previous owners.

Starting at 6:00 AM this morning and running through 11:00 AM, the film crews shot reels of video that will be used in commercials, documentaries, and lifestyle shots, meant to bring to life what the Champ Car series is all about.  Betelgeuse will also use some of the video for its race broadcasts.

Without giving away the surprise, we can tell you that some of the commercials are going to be downright funny, including the shots you see of the policeman giving Hunter-Reay a ticket for doing 175 MPH on the streets of Manhattan, and another giving a beautiful model, who can't flag down a taxi, a ride. 

One commercial will show a kid playing a video Champ Car game in Times Square with the game playing on the large video screen shown in the photos below while the kid pushes the buttons on the keypad. Hunter-Reay then pulls up in his 2-seat Champ Car and says something to the effect, hey kid, hop in and I'll make that game become reality for you.

With hordes of fans and tourists looking on, Hunter-Reay lit up the tires on his Champ Car for a series of scenes shot to depict Hunter-Reay tearing around Manhattan like no one ever has before.  In talking to both Adam Friedman (the unsung hero behind making today's event happen), and Rick Murphy from Betelgeuse, Champ Car finally has Hollywood types behind the series who not only understand Champ Car, but understand what it takes to entertain the viewer, make the drivers into household names and elevate the series to new levels.  Their plans laid out to me indicate they get it....finally!

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of race weekends, Champ Car will be plastered all over the video screens of Times Square advertising the series, providing practice and qualifying times, and of course race results, similar to some of the scenes you see in the images below.

Enjoy the images below (Copyright Mark Cipolloni/AutoRacing1.com)

The author can be contacted at markc@autoracing1.com

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