Audi toys with downtown crowd for A4 promo

Slot cars bring out the kid in Toronto's financial set

Businessfolk in Toronto’s downtown financial district are bringing out their inner child thanks to a test-driving stunt from Audi Canada.

The carmaker set up a 20-by-7-foot slot-car racetrack in the heart of Canada’s banking community, allowing passersby to drive scale model 2013 Audi A4 Quattros. The cars are controlled via iPads and in-car cameras allow participants to view the track from behind the wheel.

The stunt is outreach to Audi’s target demo of 30- to 55-year-old affluent business people, giving them “the opportunity to experience all the benefits of the new A4 prior to being actually able to test drive it,” said Shane Ogilvie, creator director at Zulu Alpha Kilo, which created the demonstration.

The track features icy mountain passes, highway straightaways and hairpin turns, all designed to showcase the vehicle’s all-wheel drive and the “exhilaration of the performance,” said Ogilvie.

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The track was designed by Detroit-based Slot Mods, which boasts clients such as NASCAR, Formula One and Jay Leno.

The detailed track has a few tongue-and-cheek touches, such as a BMW crashed at the side of the road with a couple arguing next to it. (Those not able to get to the track in person can watch a live feed at the project’s online home, ExperienceQuattro.ca.)

The cars themselves were made from scratch and actually have a four-wheel-drive chassis. “We brought a 2013 A4, one of the few that was in the country at the time, to a studio and digitally scanned it,” said Ogilvie. “Then we took the CAD drawings from that scan and printed plastic cars in 3D. So they are identical, to-scale replicas of the A4.”

“We’re seeing 40-year-old men finding their inner eight-year-old, which is exactly what we wanted,” Ogilvy said. “We wanted these guys to remember racing these tracks when they were kids on their dining room tables and seeing it in a way that’s never been presented to them before.”

Zak Mroueh, Zulu’s president and executive creative director, said this is just “phase one” of the project and the track will “potentially go around the country.”

The event is being promoted on Audi’s social channels as well as on Audi.ca.

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