McLaren and Framestore marked the F1 giant's 50th anniversary in 2013 with the return of the award-winning Tooned. The eight-part celebratory special retells the history of McLaren's cars and the champions who drove them, along with tales of wild excess, intense competition, young prodigious talent and glorious victory. Drawing on the brand's rich heritage, the series will give McLaren's historic drivers, including Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Mika Häkkinen, the Tooned treatment.
The whole thing cut together as a single long episode is now available to pre-order on DVD. The show's second run introduced a new character – a mysterious old mechanic, voiced by Bourne Identity actor, Brian Cox – and features guest appearances from F1 legends such as Murray Walker, alongside Tooned's original cast of Jenson Button, Sergio Perez and Alexander Armstrong as the Professor.
The three-minute episodes were shown on Sky Sports F1 before being rolled out across Sky and McLaren's digital channels throughout the year, with each new episode's launch coinciding with a key F1 race. Though being shown as separate episodes, they also form a single film created to celebrate 50 years of McLaren.
As with series 1 we've written, directed and animated the show, drawing on cult TV comedy talent in our writing/directing team of Chris Waitt and Henry Trotter (A Complete History of My Sexual Failures, Fur TV and J-Factory), who were joined by writers Ed Dyson & Tim Bain.
Read more below the episodes
"Our first series of Tooned, which ran in 2012, exceeded all expectations" said McLaren Group's Brand Director, John Allert. "Tooned broadened exposure of our drivers and humanised them to younger audiences. In fact, the series gave us valuable access to youth and family demographics: something that's unusual for the sector.
"I'm convinced we managed to strike gold by creating premium content utilising world-class talent and with such high production values. Without this input from Framestore, the series simply wouldn't be so engaging. Framestore's high-end approach has built a property that feels more like genuine entertainment, rather than marketing content. And that is why the series has engaged far beyond our core audience of avid F1 fans."
Framestore's executive producer, Simon Whalley, added: "Using a high-end CG route means we can tap into McLaren's impressive heritage whilst recreating its legends in a contemporary way that engages youth audiences. This quality approach also means that the content feels more like watching a credible TV comedy series, so the marketing messages get baked-in in an engaging but unobtrusive way."
"Much of Tooned's success lies in the nature of our 50/50 partnership with McLaren, which gives us an intrinsic understanding of the brand and means we're able to proactively identify content-led marketing opportunities, rather than waiting for briefs. This is how Tooned 50 came into being and we're confident it will be even more successful than the original series."