Castrol Edge Virtual Drift 2015 620x277

Drifting a real Mustang in a virtual world [with video]

Castrol Edge has created an edge-of-the-seat thriller that doesn’t actually exist, thanks to the fusing of a very real Ford Mustang and a virtual reality headset.

After sending drivers through a circuit highlighted by ever shifting lights last year, Castrol has come back with an even more audacious stunt to promote their Edge oils. This time they’ve got Formula Drift driver Matt Powers to throw a Ford Mustang around while driving inside a virtual world projected via an Oculus Rift headset.

It’s possibly the first time anybody has driven at speed while wearing the technology, and the resulting video is pretty spectacular.

Driving around an empty airfield might not normally be that impressive, but the technology to make it all work inside a virtual world is pretty advanced.

Creative technologists, Adam Amaral and Glenn Snyder, developed the technology behind the trial, extracting data from the car’s internal diagnostics and combining that with GPS and inertial measurements to sync the data with the VR headset.

This allowed what is usually a stationary experience to be made mobile, turning the car in to a giant game controller.

As the Oculus Rift updates 75 times a second, new technology was needed to update everything from steering angle and wheel spin to damping and throttle positions at the same frequency in order to synchronise the real and the virtual.

“Virtual Drift was exhilarating and challenging like nothing I’ve ever done before. It’s been awesome not only being involved and testing this next generation of gaming technology but the possibilities this opens up for motor sport in general are mind blowing,” said Powers after the experience. “I had to rely on my instincts and the car to perform, with the strength of Castrol EDGE in the engine to give me the reassurance that the car would reach its maximum performance.”

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Phil is a motoring writer for print and web, failed racing driver, car hoarder and banger rally competitor. Nominated for the Headline Auto Rising Star award and a MGMW member, Phil freelances for outlets as diverse as Diesel Car magazine, DAD.info and Cambridge Magazine, amongst many others. He also maintains a fleet of unloved motors, but spends most of his time driving an old Corvette.

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