McLaren Engineers DreamWorks Animation - Turbo Latest Racetrack

Snail Turbo Race.JPG

McLaren worked vigorously on Turbo’s latest 220 foot vertical racetrack, for his race featuring Ryan Reynolds on the Today show. In very a short time frame, McLaren designed the rigging and support structure for this human size snail race, up NBC’s 10 Rockefeller Plaza. Given the historic nature of the building’s delicate limestone façade, the design could not anchor directly to the building face. To accomplish this feat over the historic public plaza, McLaren developed a suspended system of guide cables, winch cables, a suspended truss, and fabric backdrop all supported from trusses at the roof.

McLaren’s design included two tensioned guide cables for each snail and a winch line to lift each snail. The guide cables needed to be tensioned to stabilize the snails and limit their lateral movement in windy conditions. Since we were unable to tie off to the ground, McLaren used gravity to create the required tension in the cables used to guide each snail. The five (5) pairs of cables carried a truss assembly that carried enough weight to properly tension the guide lines. The truss also supported scenic masking.

McLaren also designed a fabric backdrop tied back to the building to serve as the racetrack. This fabric was tied back across the faces of the building with cables to ballast in order to create a complete cover over the façade. The guide cables and fabric backdrop were supported by five (5) large trusses at the roof cantilevered over the plaza. Winches were placed in the roof to hoist the snails.

All components were made in prefabricated units in order to fit in the relatively small cargo elevator.

To ensure safety and proper behavior in a windy environment, the amount of weight needed for the suspension was carefully calculated, and a structural evaluation of the building roof framing was performed to ensure the building could support the loads imposed on it. McLaren personnel were onsite during the final installation to confirm that it was built properly.

To find out which snail (Burn, Skid Mark, Turbo, Whiplash, or Smoove Move) won, and more information about the event, click here.