Virtual Racers Matt Powers and The Stig

by • December 12, 2015 • FeatureComments (0)12802

In a world first that fuses video games technology and real world driving skill, Castrol EDGE premiered its latest Titanium Trial driving challenge – a head-to-head race between two global adrenaline junkies and international driving stars: former Formula Drift race and professional thrill seeker Matt Powers versus UK racing & stunt driver legend Ben Collins or maybe you know him as “The Stig”.

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The race saw Matt Powers, go up against Ben Collins, on a groundbreaking track that pushed them both to the limits of their talent. The pair raced for glory in LA in real world 2015 V8 Ford Mustangs, however it wasn’t that easy as all the drivers could see was a perilous virtual reality track featuring an ever-evolving terrain of sheer drops and death defying twists and turns through their state-of-the-art Oculus Rift Kit 2 headsets, with the cars effectively acting as giant game controllers.

Essentially the drivers were asked to compete watching a video game while racing on track. For Matt this was similar to the Virtual Drift trial he took part in back in May, though this time he needed to pit his skills against “The Stig”.

British race driver Ben Collins, famous for his role as ‘The Stig’ on BBC’s Top Gear, plus championship winning Le Mans driver, author, and stunt driver for some of Hollywood’s finest, including recent James Bond films Quantum of Solace, Casino Royale and Spectre.

“I have taken on some extraordinary driving trials in my career, but this was certainly way up there. The hardest part was getting used to the VR world and truly letting myself go – putting my foot down and trusting my instinct over my rational brain. It’s hard when every bone in your body is telling you that what you can see isn’t real, but you know you’re still in control of a real car driving at speed,” said Collins.

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The complex virtual reality code used to power the challenge was devised and developed over the course of 3 months by LA based technologist duo, Adam Amaral and Glenn Snyder. The duo said:

“The really exciting thing about this project is that Castrol EDGE are using the same technology that the big automotive manufacturers are utilizing for autonomous cars but taking this in a new direction by fusing it with the virtual world to create something totally unique and ground-breaking, pushing the boundaries of both gaming and racing. One of the biggest challenges of developing this live racing technology was to overcome the problem of latency and ensure that there is no need for recalibration when it comes to the racers tracking. What we have achieved is the closest VR technology can currently get to full immersion.”

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