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Russell Sheldon
2,855 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure whether to post this in 'Events' or 'Digital' racing - well, it is a form of digital, I guess....

Courtesy of a friend in South Africa:-

Social media powers slot car race

By Staff writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 16 Jul 2012

Last week, South African students competed in an international slot car race, while locally, the public was invited to power a model car around a replica of the competition track, using social media.

The team of Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) students was the first South African team to take part in the Formula Student competition.

CPUT says the Cape Speed team competed against teams from 110 countries, and came in 65th place. Sweden's Chalmers University of Technology won overall.

Formula Student is a student engineering competition held annually in the UK, where teams design, build, test and race a small-scale formula-style racing car. In its 15th year, the competition took place in Silverstone, in the UK, from 11 to 15 July.

Social engagement

Saatchi & Saatchi's digital arm, AtPlay, was tasked to come up with a digital component of the campaign to garner public support for the team.

Because the CPUT Formula Student team was racing at Silverstone, the agency decided to build a real-life replica of the track, letting the public get involved through social media.

Alan Cronje, creative group head at AtPlay, says Facebook 'likes' and tweets with the 'capespeed' hashtag powered the car around the miniature Silverstone track. "The mechanic used is custom-built software with a server on the track, which allows the capespeed hashtag or Facebook 'like' to power the lap, and the car to continue moving," Cronje explains.

The miniature Silverstone track was also placed at Canal Walk, in Cape Town, at the weekend, allowing everyone the opportunity to see the car racing, says Cronje. He adds that the races on the miniature Silverstone track were also live-streamed for people who could not make it to the track, but wanted to take part.

Explaining the motivation behind the digital component of the race, Cronje says: "We needed an idea that would generate maximum talkability across social networks and garner support for the team before they leave, as well as to involve public participation; building a virtual track was not as compelling.

"There is something quite special about sending a tweet and seeing it affect the car almost immediately," he concludes.

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