Imagine reaching full potential in your field — and then competing against yourself. Castrol® EDGE® did just that by challenging two of the world’s best race car drivers to go head-to-head with their ultimate selves: clones created by aggregated data from virtual laps driven in a high-tech simulator of Spain’s famed Ascari racetrack. When Aston Martin driver Darren Turner hit the actual track to jockey for position, he donned a VR headset that displayed his clone as if it were a real-life racer alongside him.
To add color commentary to the video above, we asked Turner to share some intel with us. Watch him race against himself in an Aston Martin Vulcan, and read about his experience below.
Angela Wang: What range of emotions did you feel while you were racing your clone?
Darren Turner: Mainly pressure, from being in the simulator and trying to achieve a perfect lap, and then going to Ascari in reality and trying to beat that. Anticipation as well, and excitement. There was one goal for the whole day, and that was to try and beat the lap time that we achieved in the simulator in reality.
AW: Did that pressure help push you harder?
DT: The pressure and adrenaline [did]. My day job is racing cars, so every time you go to a race weekend you’ll be involved with qualifying, [which] is all about the one lap and putting everything together. So this was very much like [that]. I just had to put it in the context that I was trying to beat myself from what I’ve done in a simulator, where everything is perfect and you have the opportunity to perfect everything.
AW: What was the most challenging part of the experience?
DT: In the simulator, there is no fear factor, because if you make a mistake, you can just reset and go again. In reality a mistake can [mean] either a loss of lap time or, worse, you spend some time off the circuit — and the next step is you crash the car. Probably the hardest part of the day was beating the time we did in the simulator, but without dropping the car and having an accident. It adds an extra element of danger and risk, which is a nice thing to experience.
AW: How did all of that training on the simulator affect your performance on the real track?
DT: For me, because I’ve never been to Ascari circuit beforehand, the time in Castrol® EDGE® and REWIND’s simulator was perfect training. Nowadays nearly every driver uses simulators in preparation for a race weekend, so it was a similar sort of prep. Understanding the limits the car will have when you’re out on the circuit is what I learnt in the simulator.
AW: These trials were about “man, machine, and oil in sync.” How does that all come together with Castrol® EDGE®?
DT: For me, “man and machine” is very much being at one with the car — but the only way you can extract maximum performance is to have everything else running at peak performance and being able to cope with the stresses and strains of a car like the Vulcan. Without the Castrol® EDGE® performance, it would be nearly impossible to replicate what we did in the simulator and push to the sort of limit we had with the car at the circuit itself. If every component of the race car is not perfect and able to deal with the stress and the strain, then you’re gonna be compromised — and on this occasion we had no compromise. Every aspect of that car ran to perfection.
AW: What would using a stronger motor oil like Castrol® EDGE® mean for an everyday driver?
DT: I think it’s the trust, isn’t it? You can actually forget about it because you know it’s gonna be there, Castrol® EDGE® is proven technology, and it’s gonna give everyday driving ease and maximum performance from your car.
Angela Wang is a Senior Writer for Studio@Gawker.