South Africans can show their support of Cape Speed, SA’s first Formula Student team, who will be racing at Silverstone, UK, by powering a real-time Scalextric race track, an exact replica of the UK’s Silverstone race track, via social networks with their tweets or Facebook likes.
On the 13th of July The Cape Peninsula University of Technology team, Cape Speed will be competing in Europe’s most established educational motorsport competition, where they will pit their formula built car against 110 teams from around the world.
“As our team heads off to the United Kingdom, South Africans can pledge their support and race their own formula car around a Scalextric Silverstone track via social media networks,” says CPUT’s communications spokesperson, Niven Maree. “The Scalextric race will be powered by each tweet or Facebook like, but will also allow people to take part in a real-life digital racing competition where they will be able to program their own laps using the different Scalextric race sectors.”
Alan Cronje, creative group head at Saatchi & Saatchi’s digital arm AtPlay explains how it works: “Each Facebook like or message of support with #capespeed powers the car around the miniature live Silverstone track, which will be placed at Canal Walk on the 13-15 July, allowing everyone the opportunity to see their car racing for real. Fans can show their support with a like on Facebook (facebook.com/CPUTFormulaStudent) or a Tweet of support using #capespeed (@CPUTFormulaStud), each message of support will power the car.”
The 300-piece track is 16 metres long and 12 square metres when instituted. “The mechanic used is custom built software with a server on the track, which allows the #capespeed hash tag or Facebook ‘like’ to power the lap and the car to continue moving,” says Alan.
Cronje explains that the second phase allows people to program their very own lap times and compete against others.
“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,” Cronje adds. “There is something quite special about sending a tweet and seeing it affect the car almost immediately.”
He says that the great thing about the combination of the virtual track and real life track is that if people can’t get to the actual track they can still watch it via the live streaming video on the website. “There are great daily prizes as incentive for people to get involved as well as a grand prize for the fastest programmed lap’s,” Cronje adds.