Castrol has produced a second installation in their Titanium Trial series – Titanium Strong Virtual Drift. Featuring Formula Drift driver Matt Powers, Castrol enlisted Ben Conrad, director of Ken Block’s Gymkhana series four through seven to direct the high-action piece. To take it beyond mere video into gaming technology, the creative technologist team of Glenn Synder and Adam Amaral was brought in to develop the 360 experience.
The first video, Titanium Strong Blackout, premiered May 27, 2014, garnering an impressive 8,103,875 views on YouTube at the time of writing. Featuring Ken Block along with Adrian Zaugg, Augusto Farfus, and Mike Rockenfeller, the drivers speed around a course of sequential lights in otherwise complete darkness. Mind you, this is all to prove how well Castrol EDGE works in high performance vehicles in extreme situations, but the entertainment value goes far beyond a well-done commercial.
Starting as a joke – and then taking the joke seriously, Snyder and Amaral essentially turned a real car into a game controller. There was no cheating; the team wanted to maintain the purity of driving. Hence, all driving was real, and the virtual world matched the track 1:1. Working closely with Matt Powers driving a 650 hp Roush Stage 3 Mustang while wearing a virtual reality helmet, the server rested in the back seat collecting data and the game was tweaked by the tech team as Powers drove. In the beginning, driving with the Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 helmet on was disorienting as the vision would change for Powers; there were a lot of starts and stops. After two months of steady work, the final result came together with a perfect, successful run. First previewed May 12 in New York City, the final video has been just released, but experience it in a game controller if you can. With the goggles on for the 360 virtual drift experience, you are seated in the passenger seat. Look left, you watch Matt Powers driving. Look right, you look out the window into the undulating, dark Oculus Rift world. Check it.