Scale racing heritage

For 30 years, Sagentia in Cambridge has been inventing, developing and redesigning for the likes of Nike, AstraZeneca, Tetley, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Unilever and Vodafone.

The company’s team of over 150 scientists, engineers, mathematicians and market experts, has been instrumental in the introduction of everything from app-controlled kettles, to new surgical equipment and underground mapping technology.

How does Sagentia work?

The key to Sagentia’s success lies in the breadth of skills and creativity available to them. When a client comes to Sagentia with a problem, the team gets to work, putting some of the best constructive minds in the world into action, effectively inventing or reinventing an entire product - often ones we know and love.

What about Scalextric?

Scalextric used to be called simply Scalex, when the cars used on the track were propelled with a wind-up motor - activated by pressing the front of the tiny car down and dragging it backwards along a surface.

Scalex was introduced in the 1950s and was, predictably, a huge success with British children. Each 1/32 model replica looked just like the full-size car, and upon launch, classics such as the Jaguar XK120 and Aston Martin DB2 could be seen zipping around plastic tracks - and occasionally crashing - in living rooms across the United Kingdom.

Each 1/32 model replica looked just like the full-size car, and upon launch, classics such as the Jaguar XK120 and Aston Martin DB2 could be seen zipping around plastic tracks.

Such is the way with toys, however, that by the end of the 1950s, the popularity of Scalex was starting to wain. Scalex electrified the track and cars, and soon after, gave players the opportunity to control the speed of their cars, increasing the skill required to play and making the whole thing new again, and more competitive.

The new and improved Scalextric was an instant hit, and remained popular well into the 1980s and 1990s, when once again, the living room floor-filling game began to lag.

In the early 2000s, Scalextric approached Sagentia with a brief which went something like this: Reinvent Scalextric for a new generation of children. Make it exciting and interactive, but retain our spirit, and don’t alienate die-hard fans.

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Scalextric Sport Digital

Sagentia decided to treat Scalextric to an upgrade, which would, in a sense, actualise the video games today’s children are used to.

With Scalextric Sport Digital, players can control the speed of their cars, overtake, switch lanes and perform blocking maneuvers.

In 2004, Scalextric Sport Digital and Sport World Systems were introduced at the London Toy Fair to great acclaim. In 2005, Sport Digital won the ‘Best New Toy Design’ at the Marketing Awards for Excellence in Toys, and Hornby - the owners of Scalextric - saw their market capitalisation improve by £2 million.

From the humble manual motors of the 1950s, through simple circuits, to an exciting and competitive upgrade on a classic, Sagentia has done an incredible job at refreshing a British toy institution.

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