With the official grand opening of the new version of Test Track at Epcot less than a month away, GM today has released a new gallery of photographs and concept art featuring a closer look at the design aspect of the attraction. They’re calling it “a first-of-its-kind multi-sensory virtual experience in automotive design” in a partnership between Chevrolet that began 18 months ago.
“The re-imagined Test Track portrays an optimistic view of the future, and reflects the deep collaboration between Disney and Chevrolet on both the design and the overall experience,” said Eric Jacobson, senior vice president, Walt Disney Imagineering. “It’s a thrilling attraction supported by rich exhibit displays and interactive elements that bring guests directly into the design process – with a few surprises thrown in.”
Test Track, presented by Chevrolet, will offer Disney guests a three-part experience:
First, in the ride’s queue, guests will have the opportunity to design their own vehicle – car, truck or crossover – aided by hints from the Chevrolet designers built into the process. “Designing a successful vehicle requires some careful thought about how to balance capability, efficiency, responsiveness and power – some of the key elements that Chevrolet designers must consider with every new vehicle they imagine,” said Mylenek.
UPDATE (11/12/12): The Disney Parks Blog has released additional images showing the step-by-step process that will be used to design vehicles in Test Track’s queue.
It all begins by drawing a vehicle outline, which the computer will help smooth out. Deciding shape, length and width is all part of the process.
Multiple engine types are available to choose, including Solar Drive, EV Hybrid, and Plasma Burner.
The car’s face, paint color, graphics, and wheel size and style will also be chosen during the design process.
Guests will then have the chance to test drive their vehicle design, through the ride, on track surfaces that simulate the actual vehicle validation process that Chevrolet engineers use on new vehicles. Each guest’s vehicle design will be evaluated and scored based on how well their design balanced the core attributes.
Throughout the attraction, visuals are inspired by Chevrolet’s vehicle design as seen in architectural elements and in the interactive displays; speed forms and concept vehicle displays, like EN-V and Miray, provide a glimpse into the future of Chevrolet design. Radio frequency technology (RFID) allows guests to take their unique vehicle design with them through the entire ride.
Finally, guests will have the opportunity to race their vehicle over changing terrain and extreme conditions on a digital driving table, produce and share a TV commercial starring their custom vehicle and pose for action shots in front of their design, with an elaborate vehicle showroom nearby.
The two teams met regularly throughout the development process in both GM’s Design studios in Warren, Mich., and at Test Track in Epcot, reviewing artwork and models.
Since the first unveiling of artwork for the new Test Track experience, guests have likened its look to that of Disney’s “Tron” universe. Though it’s not a “Tron”-based attraction, Imagineers have admitted they looked to the visual style of the film series for inspiration, now confirmed by the presence of a “Tron: Legacy” light cycle mixed into the artwork in the background of the photo above:
“At Chevrolet, the diversity of talent on our team allows us to consistently produce sophisticated, refined and detailed design – but we don’t typically design through the eyes of a 12-year-old,” said Jeff Mylenek, GM Design manager, Global Exhibit and Merchandising Design. “Working with Walt Disney Imagineering, we were inspired to see our brand story from a more youthful perspective and really opened the parameters on how to approach this design challenge.”
The result is an experience that gives an inside-the-studio look at the actual automotive design process, while empowering guests themselves to create their own designs, possibly inspiring the next generation of automotive designers.
The re-imagined Test Track Presented by Chevrolet will officially open on Dec. 6, 2012.