Need for Speed Gets Pro Drifter to Drive Real Car From Video Game Perspective

Watch as a pro driver races a pro gamer at the wheel of 'equal' Need for Speed Ford Mustang race cars.

One of the world’s bestselling video game franchises, Need for Speed, has teamed up with Castrol Edge to release a new Titanium Trials competition mode for the franchise's newest game, Need for Speed Payback.

If you've ever played a driving or racing video game, more specifically one from the Need for Speed series, then you know that the default driving view or "camera" is always from a third person, above-car viewing angle. While this view is normal for a gamer making his way around race tracks or off-road courses, it's not so normal for driving a real car. Or is it?

That's exactly what Need for Speed and Castrol Edge set out to do, and as you can see on this video, they got professional drift racing driver Luke Woodham to race video game influencer Theo Thomas in virtually equal Ford Mustangs. Keyword: virtually.

The Drive caught up with Woodham and had a quick chat about his participation in this rather crazy and exciting stunt.

The Drive: How did the opportunity to do this crazy stunt with Castrol Edge and Need for Speed come about, and what did you think when they first told you the details?

Luke Woodham: "The team at Castrol Edge approached me with this revolutionary idea to create a real-life driving challenge that mimicked the feel of driving in a video game. When they told me they would black out all the windows and I’d have to fully rely on a rear camera and the titanium strength of Castrol Edge in my engine, I was in. As a drift driver, I’m always up for a challenge and anything that gets my adrenaline pumping."

TD: What would you say was the biggest challenge of driving a real car judging the road from an exterior camera angle only?

LW: "The biggest challenge for me was having to constantly remind myself that I was driving a real car and wasn’t in a video game. In a video game, you can always press the reset button, but that definitely was not the case for this off-road driving challenge."

TD: Did you ever think that you could actually lose the race to a pro video gamer?

LW: "I never underestimated Theo and his gaming talent. The third-person viewing footage of our cars looked just like a video game and that is definitely up Theo’s alley. I was impressed by his driving skills and I had to step up my game to win!"