Car Mechanics (UK)

New movie fo­cuses on mo­tor­sports safety

- Austria · Iceland · Belarus · Andorra · NASA · Terry Fox · Mario Andretti · United Kingdom · Al Unser · Tony Kanaan

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.

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