Reinventing Motorsport for the Tech Generation
A century-old sport, reinvented: silent, without CO2 emissions and with circuits in the middle of the city, Formula E offers unique experiences, both offline and online. Brands such as Michelin, BMW and Boss have already linked their name to the increasingly popular motorsport, while the young fanbase is quickly expanding. With 14 races in 12 cities over 5 continents, connecting these fans across the world was a high priority for the 2018/19 E Prix.
Formula E came to Dept to design and build a new website and app, both of which they wanted to be as innovative as the sport is. Formula E wanted a solution that provided an exciting customer experience; something that fans could truly feel a part of. With Dept’s solution, fans can get even closer to their favourite driver via the brand-new, Sitecore-powered website and app, in which smart race data, innovative Augmented Reality solutions and a live race centre come together.
The key objective for Formula E was to deliver a website to act as a hub for one of the most innovative sports on the planet. A site that showcases why Formula E is unique and brings the championship to life through engaging content and data, that is delivered in an accessible and user-friendly manner. Formula E wanted to grow awareness and build a community for the sport, centered around the use of digital technology.
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Formula E needed a strong technology foundation for future marketing initiatives; at the heart of this was the need to implement a scalable CMS that allows for multiple languages and personalisation, to provide contextual content for the user.
Having selected Sitecore Experience Manager, Formula E wanted to use its features to build an integrated platform that would support integrations with a mobile app, race day companion. The app was a vital part of the digital vision – something that could bring sponsor brands, events and fans together in a single, integrated experience.
Fan Boost Technology
Given that Formula E is 100% electric, this opens the door to previously unknown possibilities thanks to new technology. One such possibility allows spectators to play an active role in the race’s outcome by boosting their favourite driver’s racing car during the race. This is enabled through an online voting system on the site, which automatically enables the functionality on the app. This so-called ‘Fan Boost’ grants more horsepower by the number of fans a driver has.
Prior to the replatform, the site wasn’t built on a component-based architecture. As such, content editors were unable to achieve custom layouts to create landing pages to support campaigns, or further develop parts of the site around new user offerings, such as fan activities.
The solution that Dept developed includes numerous features that really improve the customer experience:
- We wanted to bring driver content to life, so we created dedicated driver pages which pulls their stats from Forix API data, and enables users to compare different drivers.
- Motorsport fans want to understand the technology that goes into the cars. This was especially important for Formula E with the release of the Gen 2 car for Season 5. We created an experience where users can explore the technology within the cars, whilst ensuring the content remains manageable via the CMS.
- Ways to Watch functionality: Dept created an innovative way for Formula E to manage TV schedules for multiple countries. The site detects the country a visitor is in and shows the channels they can view Formula E on in their country.
- The TV Schedule page historically was a nightmare for content editors to manage, as it needed to convey the time users can tune in to watch the different race stages across various different time zones. With the redesign, we’ve made it possible to upload TV schedules via CSV. On the front end, we geodetect a users’ location to show the time to watch the race in their country. Users can change countries should they need to and also filter channels by race, as some channels are only licensed to show certain race stages.
- The Race Calendar showcases all of the upcoming races within a season. We brought the locations to life by showing iconic scenery from each race destination. Not only that, when a race has passed, we update the race card with a profile image of the winning driver, allowing users to see at a glance which drivers are on form. Clicking a race destination takes users to a page all about the race destination revealing information about the local country, race schedule and track.
- Personalization: certain components can be hidden from certain countries.
- The site’s cloud-hosted infrastructure environment is scalable on race day to support the large amount of traffic the website receives.
ROADMAP TO THE FUTURE
Dept delivered designed, built, implemented and rolled out a new website built on Sitecore DXP in 8 languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Spanish (Latin), Portuguese (Brazil) and Portuguese. Dept also developed and launched the interactive Android and iOS app in 10 languages, including Chinese and Arabic.
The new site has given them the flexibility and empowerment to deliver relevant, contextual content to their users across the world. The centralized, consolidated site has saved Formula E costs, and enabled global marketing initiatives in multiple languages. The multiple interactive features of the website and app, combined with localisation, has helped to develop Formula E’s supporters into a loyal fanbase.
Innovation is key, and the site and app’s development is merely a starting point for Formula E. The development roadmap includes the integration of Augmented Reality to display both the racing cars and drivers in 3D, and enable fans to virtually follow the race from each driver’s track position.