News: 2015 Mustang Virtual Drift

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Oculus Drift

Castrol touts its oil by drifting a 2015 Roush in the real and virtual worlds

By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Castrol Edge

We live in the viral age, so companies are always trying to generate cool videos to get the word out on their products. We’ve seen all sorts of amazing automotive videos that are designed to get those sponsor logos in front of our eyeballs. However, the marketing team at Castrol Edge has to earn a little extra respect for breaking some new ground with its latest video, Virtual Drift.

Matt Powers was the first driver to drift a real 2015 Roush Mustang in a virtual world for Castrol Edge’s Virtual Drift video, which is part of the company’s Titanium Trials video series designed to promote its Edge synthetic oil.
Matt Powers was the first driver to drift a real 2015 Roush Mustang in a virtual world for Castrol Edge’s Virtual Drift video, which is part of the company’s Titanium Trials video series designed to promote its Edge synthetic oil.

The ground they broke was both real and virtual because they fused the two together. The Castrol team grafted an Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 virtual reality headset in a Sparco race helmet so that driver Matt Powers could race a real Roush Mustang in a virtual world. The company’s creative technologists, Adam Amaral and Glenn Snyder, developed the all-new technology, which tracked everything from the steering angle and wheel spin, to the dynamic damping and throttle position. Since the Oculus Rift DK2 updates 75 times a second, these clever fellows had to invent new technology to make it fast enough to work in a moving vehicle.

You can get a bit of background on what went into this massive undertaking in this video…

Clearly they worked it out, as you see in the completed video…

Castrol’s tech team fused an Oculus Rift VR headset with a Sparco helmet and fed it data from a server in the trunk bolstered by NVIDIA GTX 980 video cards. That server accepted real-world data from the Roush courtesy of many sensors throughout the car. The Castrol techies used Unreal Engine 4 to create the Virtual Drift, facilitated by NVIDIA's PhysX engine.
Castrol’s tech team fused an Oculus Rift VR headset with a Sparco helmet and fed it data from a computer in the trunk bolstered by NVIDIA GTX 980 video cards. That server accepted real-world data from the Roush courtesy of many sensors throughout the car. The Castrol techies used Unreal Engine 4 to create the Virtual Drift, facilitated by NVIDIA’s PhysX engine.

“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 motorsport in general are mind blowing,” Matt said. “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.”

The company hopes to release the immersive version for the Oculus in the future, but if you are like us and you don’t have one, you can get a feel for it by watching the 360-degree video here…

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