Formula 1: Red Bull films 'US road trip' for Max Verstappen in Wakefield

A virtual production studio in Wakefield was used to film a Red Bull Racing Formula 1 video under top secret conditions earlier this year, it has been revealed.

A 2023 season launch video for Red Bull featuring the voice of world champion driver Max Verstappen was published in February and has garnered more than 100,000 views on YouTube alone.

It purported to show Verstappen on a road trip across America in Red Bull’s new car for the season passing through Las Vegas, Austin, Miami and New York.

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But it has now been revealed the video was made entirely in Yorkshire in January. Red Bull worked with the XPLOR team of virtual production specialists at the Production Park campus, which also plays host to some of the world’s most famous musicians when they are preparing for touring shows.

Those involved in the filming are now allowed to talk about it and have released a behind-the-scenes video about the filming process for the job.

The shoot blended real archive footage, video plates and drone footage with Unreal Engine produced scenes, CGI and VFX.

Phil Adlam, head of XPLOR at Production Park, said: “These kinds of projects can be quite secret so there has to be quite a long time period between when we film it and when we can talk about it.

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"Red Bull picked XPLOR and Production Park as a place where they could do virtual production. The key challenge for them is that FIA regulations don’t allow them to put that car on a track or road for filming outside of a race weekend.

Red Bull Racing chose XPLOR at Production Park in Wakefield and Final Pixel for Formula 1’s first ever virtual production shootRed Bull Racing chose XPLOR at Production Park in Wakefield and Final Pixel for Formula 1’s first ever virtual production shoot
Red Bull Racing chose XPLOR at Production Park in Wakefield and Final Pixel for Formula 1’s first ever virtual production shoot

"They had been trying to work out how to film the car for a launch and they realised we were the way to do this.”

He said security around the filming was extremely tight.

"The car was delivered in an unmarked vehicle and there were drapes up as we brought it in and out. No one got to see it apart from people in the studio.

"That was extremely important because it had the new livery. It was the first time anyone outside of Red Bull had seen it and it was quite a challenge making sure no one who wasn’t meant to could get sight of it.”

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He said those who work on Production Park are well-used to maintaining confidentiality, with the likes of Coldplay and Beyoncé having previously worked from the site.

Mr Adlam said: “P!nk was here for a month and she really enjoyed working here. There is an atmosphere here across the park where people like that are able to walk around freely without being hassled.

"There is a high level of professionalism from everybody who works here and the students that come here as well.”

Creative production studio Final Pixel was also involved in the video.

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Michael McKenna CEO & Director of VP at Final Pixel, said: “Virtual Production was the perfect solution here because it allowed us to do things with the car and show it in a way that otherwise would have been totally unachievable. We took Oracle Red Bull’s RB19 through the Nevada desert, into Miami and past the Kennedy Space station - all without leaving the comfort of the studio in Wakefield!

“Not only did virtual production aid the sustainability initiative of a carbon net zero production, it also solved numerous pain points for the client that rendered the creative brief, a road trip across America, impossible. The embargoed Oracle RB19 car was of great confidentiality and had not been seen by the public anywhere, so was impossible to shoot on location.

"The technological advancements that we have built a business out of pursuing made the impossible possible. It is Final Pixel’s mission to open this opportunity up to the many brands and storytellers that will benefit from this craft.’’

Mr Adlam said there are series of other high-profile projects taking place at the park.

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"There really are some exciting things. We have the North of England’s largest virtual production stage and have three virtual production facilities now and can handle some of the genuinely large-scale projects coming down the line.”

Courses available to local community

Two graduates from the Academy of Live Technology based on the Production Park were involved in the project.

Mr Adlam said Tyler Palmer and James Major were involved in running the Unreal Engine produced scenes.

He said ongoing training courses funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority are a “major opportunity to bring people from the local community into the park so they can become part of this journey”.

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He said the new behind-the-scenes video helps provide an insight into the exciting work going on there.

"It is the world’s best kept secret. It can be quite hard to get people to understand how special the opportunity is.”

Production Park’s Academy of Live Technology and XPLOR is holding free training courses in late October on virtual production techniques as well as a range of careers in the live events industry. For further information visit or email [email protected]