Racing Form, Eh?

Andretti Autosports creates a custom wrap for Canadian IndyCar races.
October Vinyl Apps Andretti 1.jpg

Casual sports fans may only think about the IZOD IndyCar Series when the race runs every Memorial Day weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the track that gave the open-wheel, auto-racing circuit, founded in 1996 as the Indy Racing League, its name. But, for those who bleed ethanol and devote race weekends to cheering on their favorite driver, it’s as vital as breathing.

Andretti Autosport, which manages four drivers in the IZOD IndyCar Series, needed a temporary graphic changeover for Marco Andretti’s No. 26 car in anticipation of the Streets of Toronto and Edmonton City Center Airport races, which took place July 10 and 24, respectively. Venom Energy Drink, his normal brand sponsor, isn’t sold in Canada. So, its parent company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, opted for a custom wrap that identifies the Dr Pepper brand. Mike McClelland, Andretti Autosport’s creative director, reviewed marketing materials used to promote Dr Pepper north of the border and incorporated them into the wrap’s design scheme using Adobe® Illustrator® software.

McClelland credits Jason Harrington, Andretti Autosport’s resident wrap installer, with managing the two wraps (the primary and backup car). A spare set of wraps and decals was also sent to each location.
McClelland said it was the first season of the team producing wraps in-house after having outsourced them for several years. Although painted vehicles are still more common on the IZOD IndyCar circuit than in NASCAR, McClelland said integrating product images, gradients and specific PMS colors made wrapping the car a clear preference.

“Wraps allow us to be more creative; we can change the look of the car for one race, then return to the original paint scheme,” he said. For irregular shapes, such as the side of an IndyCar’s nose, Harrington likes to cut away a lot of the excess vinyl to eliminate the overhang. Also, he makes relief cuts to minimize stretching, and short bursts of heat with a propane torch during application help the film meld to the complex surface.”

Andretti Autosport’s production facility printed the wrap on an HP DesignJet L25500 latex-ink printer with Oracal’s Orajet 3551RA high-performance, calendered media with RapidAir® air-release technology. Onyx Graphics’ ProductionHouse 10 RIP helped Andretti Autosport proof the finished product. To output smaller decals, Andretti uses a Gerber EDGE 2® thermal-transfer printer or an enVision 375 cutting plotter.

The Dallara chassis, a standard spec for all IndyCars, contains contours that require wrapping in sections; McClelland said the engine cover behind the driver’s head presents the greatest challenge. He developed basic templates to guide the wraps’ design.

He said Andretti Autosport’s print shop typically updates the Venom Energy car 6-9 times a year during the IndyCar circuit’s 17-race season.
Garden Gateway
Canby, OR, nicknamed the “Garden Spot,” enjoys fertile soil that has spawned a heavy concentration
of tree farms and plant nurseries. However, the city’s aging, pedestrian, plywood gateway signs and HDU monument signs wouldn’t persuade would-be residents or entrepreneurs to grow roots in the rustic town – roughly 20 miles from Portland – of approximately 15,000 inhabitants.

To enhance its image, Canby officials hired Security Signs (Portland) to fabricate a stately sign program with two gateway signs and five directional signs within the city limits that point the way downtown. A 5 ft. 6-in.-tall, blossoming dahlia serves as the sign’s focal point; Canby’s Swan Island Dahlias, in business since 1927, operates the largest dahlia farm in the U.S.

LRS, the architectural firm the city retained, provided the design, which was enhanced for production. To produce the dahlia, Security Signs opted for 3M high-performance white, cut vinyl, which it processed on its Gerber enVision 375 Series cutting plotter. It was applied to a ¼-in.-thick, CNC-routed, aluminum backplate.
The 76-sq.-ft., primary monument sign, which spans 13 ft. 6 in. x 8 ft. at its widest point, was built atop a concrete pad and secured to natural Mojave ledgestone. Security Signs fabricated the main panel on a 2-in.-sq., aluminum-tube frame with a 0.090-in.-thick aluminum face and backing. CNC-routed, ¼-in.-thick, aluminum letters were stud-mounted flush to the background panel.

To create a dignified, yet distinct, color contrast, fabricators decorated complementary elements – excepting the dahlia – with metallic-copper or satin-black Akzo Nobel acrylic-polyurethane paint. Two, 8-ft. lengths of Insight Lighting’s (Rio Rancho, NM) Tre’O TEL exterior, architectural LED lamps provide uplighting embellishment. A Braco anti-graffiti clearcoat protects the signface from vandalism.
The Faces of War
The Civil War’s toll (or, as its known in certain parts, The War Between the States) on the U.S. was incalculable. In addition to the more than 600,000 soldiers and bystanders killed, countless more came back wounded or emotionally scarred (not much treatment was offered in the days before post-traumatic stress disorder was an accepted diagnosis), and the fissures between North and South remained through the Jim Crow era.

This year’s 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s onset has been widely observed through documentaries and exhibits – and in ST’s June issue (see page 76). The Pennsylvania Heritage Society and the PA Civil War 150 Committee commissioned the fabrication of a trailer that highlights Pennsylvania’s home-front contributions during the Civil War. Remer & Talbott, an exhibit-design firm working on behalf of the Society and Metcalfe Architecture & Design, hired Craftsmen Industries (St. Charles, MO) to fabricate an exterior wall wrap for the trailer and identification graphics for its interior exhibits.

Using Metcalfe’s furnished graphics, Craftsmen fabricated the 3,520-sq.-ft. trailer wrap using 3M’s Controltac with Comply air-release technology, which it printed on an EFI-VUTEk 2360 solvent-ink printer using ColorBurst’s 7.6 RIP. Installers wrapped the irregularly shaped trailer with approximately 50 panels bled together with a ½-in.-overlap. 3M’s 8519 luster-finish overlaminate protected the images during the 53-ft.-long trailer’s summer-long tour of all Pennsylvania’s counties.

To produce the more than 400 sq. ft. of interior graphics, Craftsmen applied MACtac calendered film to ¼-in.-thick, black Komatex® PVC panels per Metcalfe’s installation specs. They printed the graphics on a Seiko ColorPainter 64S with solvent inks, and protected them with Seal’s JetGuard UV topcoat applied via a Seal Ultra 62 wide-format laminator.
Shine On, Vespas
When people think of a Vespa (discounting the large swath of the population unfamiliar with the Italian-made, motorized scooters), they probably envision a lean environmentalist desirous of its 70- to 80-mpg fuel efficiency, or a cash-strapped college student seeking inexpensive transportation around campus. In either case, Edmonton – situated in northern Alberta with an average high temperature in the low 70s (F) during summer – probably isn’t considered an ideal locale for Vespa usage.

So, imagine the heads turned when CJRY Shine 105.9 FM, an Edmonton contemporary Christian and pop-music station, ordered two wrapped Vespas as a key advertising component for its 105 Days of Summer event. Throughout the May 31-September 17 promotion, listeners were instructed to pick up Shine keychains at various Edmonton locations and listen for the chance to call in for or instantly win prizes (one being a pair of his-and-hers Vespas).

CJRY hired Edmonton’s Sign*A*Rama to produce the wraps. Colin Reid, who’s owned the franchise for seven of its nine years and produces an array of non-electric signage, which includes wraps, was previously unfamiliar with Vespas.

“We’re a relatively small city of approximately one million, and we have a light-rail system and a very cold climate,” Reid said. “So, we don’t see lot of Vespas here. I’d only previously seen them in Larry Crowne, the movie where Tom Hanks’ character rides one. We’ve had a longstanding relationship with the station and were happy to help with the promotion.”

In preparation, the shop removed the footrests, tail lights and vents. Yet challenges remained: “Each wrap took about a full day, which is a long time considering the wraps’ small size. We printed 50% more material than we actually used to account for the many curves and cut-off points. There’s not much surface area, so it was a challenge to make the text and graphics seamlessly match.”

The shop fabricated the wraps using 3M™’s Controltac™ with Comply™ v3 air-release technology, which it printed on a Roland DGA SolJet Pro III XC-540 printer using Eco-Sol Max eco-solvent inks.