Now I'm with an exhibitor who is probably the fastest exhibitor at the fair and has a really big name. (Looks at a superhero next to him) The only question is, who are you? Superhero: "Captain Carrera"
Klas Bömecke: Great figure! But I know someone who probably drives a Carrera track even better than you and I have a date with him. Now it's going to be very exciting for me personally. Because I'm going to race against Mr. Carrera himself! But now I really have to make an effort... Klas Bömecke meets Andreas Stadlbauer (Managing Director) alias Mister Carrera. Andreas Stadlbauer: Don't drive off until the lights have gone - otherwise it's a false start! Here we go.
Klas Bömecke: How much do you actually drive? Do you have enough time to drive at all? Andreas Stadlbauer: Due to my job, at least once a week for an hour - because of course I don't miss the opportunity to test all the new models and vehicles personally. Klas Bömecke: I wouldn't miss out on that either, if I were you. I mean - you probably have one of the best jobs in the world. Andreas Stadlbauer: It's certainly a dream job. Yes. Klas Bömecke: Who is the boss of such a fun company where you can have so much fun professionally? (grins) Andreas Stadlbauer: And I'm one of the few who can say that I drive a Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Porsche or BMW once a week. (laughs) Klas car tipped out of the bend Andreas Stadlbauer: Should I wait? Klas Bömecke: No! Don't make me feel so bad right away. (laughs) If you lap me, then we can talk about it. Hah! I've got you now! Andreas Stadlbauer: The interesting thing is that we are also taken very seriously by our partners in motorsport, because we transport brands into the nursery. Klas Bömecke: It's certainly not easy contractually to be allowed to produce a Ferrari or an Aston Martin? You have to be recognized by the car manufacturers, don't you? Andreas Stadlbauer: That's right. A certain level of quality is a prerequisite. Then, of course, a true-to-detail reproduction of the vehicles. And the marketing behind it is also very important to get a license. Klas Bömecke: Who is actually your clientele? I'm noticing that more and more people my age (editor's note: Klas was born in 1972) are buying Carrera tracks to awaken the boy in them. Do you notice that in the store? Andreas Stadlbauer: Yes, absolutely. We basically have two target groups: One is Carrera GO, with which we specifically appeal to children. Children want to drive the Carrera track differently to adults. Children need a loop, a fly-over, jumps and things like that. For adults, it's more about the race - a duel. Who's the faster, who's the better - that's where the club is unpacked, so to speak. Klas Bömecke: So this track we're on is a classic adult track? Andreas Stadlbauer: It's a classic high-end track. Klas Bömecke: For boys like you and me. (laughs)
Andreas Stadlbauer: Exactly, where it gets down to business. Klas Bömecke: And where you can rip each other off, which is what you're doing to me right now. Now you've lapped me. Andreas Stadlbauer: Exactly (laughs). It's always incredible fun. Klas Bömecke: But it's like this - the Carrera track can't be reinvented every year. Andreas Stadlbauer: No. Klas Bömecke: Isn't it difficult for you to pack in innovations? Andreas Stadlbauer: Well, we put our innovation into the vehicles themselves. In the technology with which we move our vehicles. The racetrack principle will remain the same for a long time to come because we are dealing with physical forces here. And if I move a 1:32 or 1:24 scale car into a bend on such a small track at the speed we drive, then I need the pin, the light kill and the slot to keep the vehicle on track. Otherwise we would just be traveling at half or a third of the speed. That would no longer be fun. In terms of fun, that would no longer be what we imagine Carrera to be. Klas Bömecke: Mr. Stadlbauer, I hate to say it, but I can't compete with you and we want to see something else. Andreas Stadlbauer: Nevertheless, you did a great job. Congratulations! Klas Bömecke: I'm very pleased, that's high praise. I'd still like to see this. (Klas Bömecke points to another racetrack) That's the program for the little ones: The "Go!!!"?
Andreas Stadlbauer: That's right! We are presenting a completely new, expanded racetrack feeling here at the trade fair. Why expanded? The original principle of the Carrera GO slot racing track - a system of which we have already sold over 10 million units worldwide - remains the same, but we have expanded the play value incredibly. Namely with connection to iPad, tablets or smartphones. Because some things can only take place on the racetrack in the imagination or in the digital world. Klas operates the digital Carrera tablet. Klas Bömecke: I see here: "Wiping flies"? Andreas Stadlbauer: We can change tires here, remove flies from the visor of the driver's helmet and there are various other additional features with which we expand the play value around the theme of the car racing track. In addition to the basic features, the Carrera GO also has lights on the track; we can highlight special parts of the track with lights. We also have engine sound - when I set off, a rich 8-cylinder sound comes out. That's something the children really like. Then we can drive a normal race and during the race I can see on an LED display that my fuel is running low. That means I have to drive into this pit stop and refuel the vehicle using my hand controller, which I don't just use to control my vehicle.
Klas Bömecke: That's great, of course, because the refueling stop in the real race is always a key scene. Andreas Stadlbauer: These are exactly the key scenes - changing tires, engine failure, these are all things that we simulate and that take place on this track here. The first expansion stage of Carrera Go Plus would be this Pitstop Lane, with which I can then play the games mentioned. And the major expansion stage would then be the connection via Bluetooth to a tablet or smart device. Klas Bömecke: That means that even though you think "the Carrera track already exists, there's not much more that can happen" - there's always one step further. Andreas Stadlbauer: Dramatic further development. Evolution is wherever we can incorporate technology in a meaningful way. The overriding principle of the Carrera track is and remains that races can be driven on the racetrack. Fast races, with action, with drama, with everything that belongs to a car race. And we use new technologies to expand the entertainment framework around this theme. To offer more action, more excitement, a bit more entertainment, sound, light. And that goes down extremely well here at the trade fair. Klas Bömecke: I also noticed that Star Wars is a big topic all over the world. You also have something in your program! I always thought Star Wars was only about spaceships. You've expanded that.
Andreas Stadlbauer: That's right. We are particularly proud. The designs of the vehicles were developed jointly by Carrera and Disney. These are two models that are specially adapted to the racetrack. So that they drive really well. One car model is a VW Beetle adapted to Yoda. One of the cult figures from Star Wars. And of course the highlight is Darth Vader mutated with perhaps a Bugatti. Klas Bömecke: Yes, you can recognize his mask in the car. That turned out cool. Andreas Stadlbauer: And we've underlit it well in terms of color so that it also looks good in the dark. Klas Bömecke: Will they stay in this matt grey or will they also come in these colors? Points to the model cars Andreas Stadlbauer: No. These are hand samples that we are showing here. They have just come out of production. The goods won't be available until September. Then they will look like the vehicles behind them in the photo. Klas Bömecke: That means a secret has just been revealed for the first time. Andreas Stadlbauer: Exactly, we've lifted the veil here. Klas Bömecke: Every car looks like a little dream - we'd all like to drive them in real life. What are the highlights of the season - what's new? Andreas Stadlbauer: Of course, we always try to cover different areas at Carrera. It starts with Formula 1 and continues with DTM. But one of the highlights that we bring out every year - especially for the older target group - are the 1:24 scale models. Here we specifically focus on racing series that are considered the Holy Grail of motorsport. Le Mans, for example. This year we are presenting the Ford GT as a special highlight. Ford will once again be taking part in Le Mans with this model, where it will give Audi, Porsche and everyone else a run for their money. We are always there live when it comes to competition and duels. That also belongs on the racetrack.
Klas Bömecke: How does such a big, real top car become a Carrera car? You can't just take three photos, give them to your model developers and say "Now let's make one out of it!". Andreas Stadlbauer: That's right. It's a very extensive, complex process. It starts with brainstorming, with the decision in our company: Which models do we want to make? Klas Bömecke: You wouldn't make the VW Sharan now? Andreas Stadlbauer: Well, there should be a certain sportiness behind it. And a certain liveliness. We then approach our licensors and partners with these suggestions and then take the step of saying "We need the plans from you, can we do it together?" We get a lot of support - whether it's Mercedes or BMW or Audi - whoever - we get the plans! Klas Bömecke: They're happy that they're available in miniature in the end? Andreas Stadlbauer: They are happy because we bring these little dreams and brands home to the living room, the children's room or the hobby room! And what is very clear and also very nice is - especially when talking to an older target group, everyone can still remember their first Carrera car! Mine was the BMW Schnitzer in Jägermeister design. Orange with the famous stag on it. I still remember that today. And the second one was Niki Lauda's, but you had to have that if you were Austrian. Klas Bömecke: I can still remember him racing. Andreas Stadlbauer: That was a series in its own right. They were real racing cars with flames firing out of the exhaust and a proper sound. Klas Bömecke: And that's what the fans wanted? Andreas Stadlbauer: That's what the fan community wanted.
Klas Bömecke: Does that mean you also interact with your buyers? With your die-hard fans? Andreas Stadlbauer: Exactly. We interact with them. There is the Carrera Club. We read very carefully what our fans and Carrera freaks want. Of course, there are lots of requests. And when you realize that there are a certain number of similar wishes, then we try to fulfill them. Klas Bömecke: I think the SLS is very successful - but I also like the original very much. Andreas Stadlbauer: It also sounds good in the original. Klas Bömecke: Yes (smiles). It's a smart car and probably still very fresh in the range. Andreas Stadlbauer: Yes. We try to cover historical vehicle models as well as current ones. We even go so far as to sometimes develop models in collaboration with the car industry that don't even officially exist yet. We then get an early insight. These models are used for special events or press events - which we are of course particularly proud of. The safety precautions, including those we take internally, are of course enormous. Klas Bömecke: Does that mean there are also prototypes at Carrera? Andreas Stadlbauer: We still have Erlkönig cars. Yes. Klas Bömecke: I wouldn't have thought so! Andreas Stadlbauer: A good example was the Porsche Carrera GT, which we had on the racetrack before it was even produced. Klas Bömecke: Wow, you're that far ahead. Andreas Stadlbauer: Yes, we'll get there quickly. Klas Bömecke: Then I wish you all the best for the future. In the race and in business. Thank you for the interview. Andreas Stadlbauer: Thank you too, and thank you for the race. Klas Bömecke: Yes, thank you. Andreas Stadlbauer: Here's to revenge! Klas Bömecke: Here's to revenge! We'll meet here again next year. And then I'll have trained. Andreas Stadlbauer: Okay, that's an announcement. (laughs)