Car Mechanics (UK)
New movie focuses on motorsports safety
It’s hard to believe that, at one time, motorsports events were held with absolutely no medical support on hand in the event of an accident. This is especially critical given the high-risk nature of motor racing and the fact that immediate trackside medical assistance can often mean the difference between life and death.
Rapid Response is a new feature-length documentary that focuses on how motorsports authorities – often reluctantly, due to the costs involved – were eventually forced into action and have medical units on hand at every race in order to provide immediate medical care while awaiting ambulances and paramedics. It also highlights the efforts of one man – Dr Stephen Olvey – in changing the mindset of an entire industry.
Back in 1996, Stephen Olvey was a keen motorsports enthusiast who volunteered to join the first aid team at the Indianapolis 500 as a way of getting closer to the racers and their vehicles. Having been first surprised by the ad hoc nature of medical aid in motorsports, it took a fatal accident on the track to convince him to form a group to not only study motor accidents and find ways to enhance safety – one revelation was that the majority of racing fatalities were due to fire injury following the accident rather than the trauma of the impact itself – and then lobby the motorsports authorities to take action. It was due to their determination that motor racing went from being the most dangerous sport in the world to one of the safest, and their expertise has also proved invaluable to modern passenger car manufacturers, as well as NASA and the armed forces.
The film features a wealth of historical race footage from around the world, as well as contributions from Stephen Olvey and his close associate Dr Terry Trammel, as well as motorsports legends such as Mario Andretti, Bobby and Al Unser, Hélio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan.
Rapid Response (Cert: 12A) is released in UK cinemas from September 6, 2019.