Matra is a revered French automobile company dating back to 1945 that produced automotive racing and sports cars as of 1964. Seventy vehicles that trace this legendary sports car manufacturer's history are on display in Musee Espace Automobiles Matra in Romorantin, France.
The most notable Matra sports car produced by Matra was the MS670B, winner of the 1973 24-hour motorsports race of Le Mans (the world’s oldest active endurance racing event). This iconic car was recently sold, leaving an empty space for a new opportunity in the museum.
To experience Matra's history through two exposure levels, and three dimensions: the industrial adventure, exceptional sporting accomplishments, and prototypes that coexist peacefully.This iconic car was recently sold, leaving an empty space for a new opportunity in the museum.
COFFEE Labs was approached to come up with a solution that would fill the newly emptied space in the Musee Espace Automobiles Matra, keep the legacy of the famous Matra MS670B alive and drive footfall into the museum. A perfect challenge and where the rubber truly hits the road for the immersive team at COFFEE Labs!
With a deep understanding of the motor sports community, COFFEE Labs knew that they had to deliver a one of its kind experience which would feel authentic and “Virtually Real” to avid motorsports enthusiasts and fans of the Matra brand.
The concept was to use the latest Virtual Reality technology to recreate that historical winning moment in 1973 at le Mans, and enable enthusiasts to experience what it would have been like to drive that winning race in the Matra MS670B.
Creating original high-fidelity 360 degrees motion graphic content, COFFEE Labs recreated the Le Mans track from 1973 including advertising billboards and 3D models of the other motorsports cars racing on that day. And, with the guidance of the original Matra MS670B designers, COFFEE’s CGI team also created a precise 3D replica of the Matra sports car.
To create a more dynamic, and immersive experience, COFFEE built a custom made haptic chair (racing car seat and harness), and motion base system. Four pistons (represented each wheel), helped recreate every turn, bump, break and acceleration of the car racing along the original Le Mans track. The custom haptic chair is programmed perfectly in sync with the visual and sound content experienced through Virtual Reality Headset (Vive Pro).
After 12 weeks of building and testing the COFFEE Labs team packed everything up and set off to France to install the installation in the Museum, which included a fiberglass shell around the seat which was a physical replica of the car.
COFFEE also produced a browser based augmented reality (AR) experience for mobile, accessible via web link or scanning a QR code. This offered a more portable solution for enthusiasts who can’t get to the museum or attendees who wanted to recreate the experience at home.
Using the same CGI model of the Matra MS670B and a mobile device, fans were able to “drop” the car into their environment, rotate and adjust the car size, as well as tap on tactical and educational hotspots overlaid on the vehicle. They also have the opportunity to snap a photo of the car to share with family and friends.
Since its launch on July 14th 2022, more than 2,000 (65%) of all attendees at the museum paid extra to experience this thrilling automotive experience.
On the day of launch, national and local news attended the unveiling of the installation, which was covered online as well as in press and TV.
The museum has since seen a 27% increase in traffic attributed to the new installation.