Step by Step: Air Superiority
How the right vehicle graphics help Motocross legend Jeremy McGrath really fly.
If you're at all interested in Motocross or Supercross, then you've heard of Jeremy McGrath. Like Jordan and basketball or Ali and boxing, McGrath's name is synonymous with "legend" in the ultra-competitive motorcycle racing world. And with good reason. A seven-time AMA Supercross Champion, "Showtime," as he's called, helped spawn the sport of freestyle motocross, where riders one-up each other with jumps and stunts to impress judges for points.
McGrath no longer races motorcycles competitively, but he's still impressing just as many fans on a whole new track. The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS) is a short course, off-road racing series where drivers compete in door-to-door action through tight turns and over manmade obstacles – with some jumps sending them 150 feet into the air – all while battling for a crowning position.
After a year of fiercely competing in this series, McGrath is once again making a name for himself – and going for that top step on the podium. His new vehicle of choice? The Pro 2, a full-sized, two-wheel-drive, 900-horsepower race truck.
Last year, bluemedia signed a sponsorship agreement with the Jeremy McGrath Motorsports (JM2) team to produce all signage and graphics for McGrath's trucks, haulers, pits, basecamp, hospitality, and more.
Here's how we keep him and his sponsors looking good on the track and in the pits.
1. Art in Motion – Concept, Design, and Preflight
The design concept came to us from Lawrence “Lew” Lewis, McGrath’s team manager. The previous art scheme for the truck, featuring a vibrant red, bright yellow, and rich black, was crafted in 2014, and was based on McGrath’s previous Motocross gear from the ‘90s – a color scheme his fans still discuss with enthusiasm today.
Bluemedia’s design department used Adobe Illustrator CC 2014 64-bit to adjust the art to fit the exact dimensions and specifications of the truck – every panel, groove, and cut-out – and offered some small tweaks and textures to add additional spark, or “Showtime,” to the truck. This included contouring the diagonal stripes and lines in the art to run along a specific panel in a precise way, adding to the overall shape and appearance of the truck on the track.
2. Practice Makes Perfect – Samples and Approvals
Once the design was perfected, color samples were necessary to ensure consistency across multiple cloned panels, lock in the brightest yellows possible, and check the red for texture and vibrancy. We chose our HP Latex 3000 printer due to its wide color gamut, 1200 dpi resolution, and ability to produce fine details. Once the colors were set and samples and final design were approved, we were able to start production.
3. The Art of Production – RIP, Print, Laminate, and Cut
At this point, the project officially entered our production queue and the scheduler sent the files to the printer using the Onyx Thrive RIP system.
For materials, we teamed with 3M Graphics under the 3mwraps.com brand, exclusively featuring their highly conformable Envision IJ480Cv3 Print Wrap Film.
Then, using a GBC 2064WF-1 laminator loaded with 3M Envision Gloss Wrap Overlaminate 8548G, we laminated the pieces to ensure the material would likely last longer than the truck panel itself – it’s dangerous out there on the track, after all.
Once lamination was complete, the prints, along with a variety of sponsor logos, were sent off to our G3 L-3200 Zünd digital cutting system for routing. Smaller pieces were masked using Main Tape’s GXP-875 for ease of application.
Once each piece was fully cut and ready, they were sent to quality control for a last check, and after QC approval, they were transferred to our install team for vehicle application.
4. It Takes Time, Patience, and a Squeegee – Installation
At the start of last season, a number of blank body panels were wrapped in advance at bluemedia. As previously mentioned, it can get a little precarious out there in the dirt, so the JM2 team wanted to be prepared. You never know when the truck next to you is suddenly going to be coming down on top of you. Body panels can also be shed from the truck due to the sheer vibration and beating they take when jumping a 4400-pound vehicle 150 feet over the track.
To that end, we installed graphics across an array of cloned panels and sent them out on the road with the team. That way, should any panel be bent, torn, or out-and-out destroyed during a race, a team of certified installers on the Jeremy McGrath crew can replace it quickly and efficiently.
We’ve also shipped new and modified artwork panels to the JM2 Lake Elsinore, California, race shop, so when the truck is “home,” a certified installer on the McGrath team can fit them to the vehicle, should the need arise.
Because each of the body panels is unique, when the truck is at our headquarters, our own team will fit them to the vehicle’s frame, and then install the Envision IJ480Cv3 Print Wrap Film directly, pulling, stretching, and contouring as needed, starting from the back and working to the front.
We’ve found it works best to take several square feet at a time, with the installer frequently smoothing out bubbles, wrinkles, or folds using a 3M PA1-G Hand Applicator Squeegee. Precision cutting is then completed using an NT Cutter A-300G knife with Olfa A1160B blades.
Sponsor logos, including Loctite, Fuel Off-Road, Airaid, Maxxis Tires, 3mwraps.com, and our very own bluemedia Motorsports, were also printed on Envision IJ480Cv3 Print Wrap Film, so they can easily and quickly be installed on the road or at a track by a member of the crew.
5. It’s an Uphill (and Overhill) Battle – On the Track
The JM2 team started the 2015 season in March with a podium finish and third place overall in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series points championship.
A few weeks later, despite his left rear tire going flat with three laps to go, McGrath worked his way up from eighth to a third place podium position, tying with another driver for total points in the LOORRS series.
On race day, we know it’s not about the wrap; it’s about the driver and where the truck finishes on the track that makes all the difference. Well, it might be a little bit about the wrap, but then again, we’re probably biased.
Equipment and Supplies Used
Hardware and Software:
• Adobe Illustrator CC 2014 64-bit
• Onyx Thrive RIP
• HP Latex 3000 printer
• GBC 2064WF-1 laminator
• G3 L-3200 Zünd digital cutting system
• Envision IJ480Cv3 Print Wrap Film
• 3M Envision Gloss Wrap Overlaminate 8548G
Tools and Miscellaneous:
• Main Tape GXP-875
• 3M PA1-G hand applicator squeegee
• NT Cutter A-300G knife• Olfa A1160B blades