By Carla Warrilow Posted June 2, 2011, 1:30 PM EDT
Hot Wheels hosted an Indy 500 viewing party for more than 1,200 guests on Sunday afternoon, to honour the race and promote the brand's record-breaking stunt at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Team Hot Wheels, a crew of real-life drivers, were in Indianapolis attempting to break the world-record distance jump of 301 feet.
“For the Fearless 500, it made sense to try to create something special for Canada,” said Trojan One president Mark Harrison, who produced the event. “Our challenge became: How do we take a global asset like Fearless 500 and make it relevant here?”
Both the Indy 500 race and the Hot Wheels Fearless at the 500 stunt were simulcast during the party on a jumbo screen, and guests cheered as a life-size version of the Hot Wheels V-Drop launched a car with a masked driver down a 90-foot ramp, over a 10-storey door, and across 332 feet of the speedway infield, breaking the world record.
The Evergreen Brick Works, an environmental centre within the deteriorating heritage buildings of an old brick factory, lent an industrial, underground feel to the event. The activities took place among graffiti-covered kilns in the 1,000-square-foot Holcim Gallery.
A V.I.P. lounge, complete with a private bar and barbecue, offered guests a bird's-eye view of the stunt from leather armchairs and sofas. In the adjoining Koerner Gardens, barbecued hot dogs, hamburgers, and pulled pork from En Ville were offered.
A focal point of the party was the recent launch of the Canadian Hot Wheels Live Web site (hotwheelslive.ca). Inside the Hot Wheels Garage trailer, guests could use laptops to explore the site, watch videos, play an online game, and see the Hot Wheels Twitter feed and Facebook page. Explaining the importance of this new digital platform, Harrison said, “We wanted to create a conversation this year. We wanted to get people talking about Hot Wheels, maybe in an untraditional way.”
The multifaceted event had professional bikers doing jumps in one area of the gallery, while a B-boy competition entertained guests in another area. Children could play with the newest Hot Wheels cars and racing tracks, and adults had games, too—the Honda Pit-Stop Challenge had guests racing to see who could change a tire the fastest.
Although Hot Wheels was the only sponsor, marketing partners such as Honda and Dr. Pepper were included in the event.