Crazy racing mash-up: Gamer vs driver in real cars, but with video-game views

Enlarge / Luke Woodham (left) is a professional drift racer. Theo Thomas (right) is a gamer and vlogger. They both raced on an off-road track in real cars but without being able to see out the windshield. (credit: Castrol / EA Games)

I don't know about you, but when I play racing games—which I do quite often—I'm quite particular about which camera angle I use. It's almost exclusively the "front bumper cam" these days; after several years using the in-car view (where offered), I've found I'm just that bit faster without peering through a simulated windshield. It's a POV I came to love in the first Gran Turismo game two decades ago, and, for me, it remains the best.

I've never been able to come to grips with the "over the shoulder" external view, where a camera is above and behind your car—it just feels so unnatural, especially if I'm using a steering wheel and pedals. So I'd probably have fared pretty badly in this challenge between a professional drift racer and a prolific gamer, organized by Castrol and Need For Speed Payback.

A brief disclaimer: yes, at the end of the day this stunt is an advert for Castrol's products and the latest NFS game, but that doesn't make it any less cool. It involved Luke Woodham, a pro drift racer who competes in Europe, and Theo Thomas, a gamer with a sizable following on YouTube. They competed to see who could set a faster time in a point-to-point race across a dirt road in the desert, using identical Ford Mustangs. But there was a catch—all the windows on the cars were blacked out.

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