Real and virtual go head-to-head in this first-of-a-kind high speed duel.
In an effort to promote the latest addition to their popular Civic model line-up, Honda has ended up developing what may very well be one of the more intricate car advertisements ever conceived. While many automotive manufacturers might be satisfied with a simple 30 second televised ad highlighting the best features of their latest offering, Honda saw an opportunity to show-off their new Honda Civic Type R while simultaneously blending the line between virtual and reality using what could be a game-changing technology.
Partnering with Microsoft Turn 10 Studios, Honda’s R vs R competition pit an actual professional driver against a professional YouTube gamer in a head-to-head mixed reality race unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Enlisting the help of popular racing game YouTuber Peter Jeakins, aka TheSLAPTrain, and professional Indy Car driver Graham Rahal, the two dedicated racing fanatics battled for the best time on an identical course in identical vehicles.
The only difference is that while Graham sat in an actual Type R on an actual racetrack, Jeakins sat in a simulator.
First, Jeakins took his turn racing down a detailed digital version of the real-world Road Atlanta Raceway in Braselton, Georgia as it appears in Microsoft’s 2017 arcade racing video game Forza Motorsport 7. His virtual lap was then projected onto a specially designed mixed reality windshield fitted onto Graham’s Type R vehicle.
Using a GPS tracking system mounted to the roof, Graham was then able to race Jeakins’ ghosted image as if he were actually on the track with him. It’s a feature you see plenty in competitive racing games, but one we’ve yet seen adapted for real-life racing—until now.
Of course it’s important to note that this was by no means a fair challenge. While the Forza franchise is well-known for its impressive graphics and fun gameplay, it’s more so an arcade or “simcade” racer rather than a true-to-life simulator. However, that didn’t stop Graham from sneaking up on Jeakins at the last second to take home the win for Team Reality. And while titles such as rFactor 2, Assetto Corsa, and Project Cars may be more realistic simulators better suited for serious racing, none of them have quite the same name recognition as Forza, something I’m sure Honda took into account.
Hopefully we’ll see more of this intuitive mixed reality windshield technology in the near future along with mixed reality racing as a whole. From entertainment to training, the impact this could potentially have on the modern racing scene can be momentous.