Racing is inherently a supercharged sport, naturally imbued with speed and adrenaline. What happens when the bar is raised even higher? The folks at Castrol® EDGE® are pushing the boundaries by challenging some of the world’s best race car drivers to compete with their ultimate selves: clones created by aggregating data from a series of virtual laps on a simulator of Spain’s famed Ascari racetrack. In this video, Koenigsegg driver Christoffer Nygaard is pitted against his clone on the real Ascari racetrack, donning a VR headset that shows him exactly where his rival is while he drives.
It’s not every day that we get to see such unique take on a time trial, so we asked Nygaard to talk to us about his experience. Watch the video above, and check out Nygaard’s take below.
Angela Wang: What does it mean to you to push boundaries in terms of performance?
Christoffer Nygaard: This whole project here is very much in thread with what we do at Koenigsegg and Castrol. We try to push the boundaries. It’s always about getting the best out of ourselves, and that is also what I’ve done as a professional racing driver. So what it means is taking something to the limit so you can take it to the best it can be. This is what I’ve done for a living for a long time and what I do in my daily job now.
AW: How did you apply that ethos while you were racing your clone?
CN: Castrol® EDGE® partnered with VR experts at REWIND to make our clone in the U.K. in the studio. I knew it was a really good lap, because we took bits and pieces — the best parts out of 10 laps — and put them together [into] one. As a human, you make small mistakes. But on an actual lap, we only have one chance to do it, so I knew I really need to be on top of it to beat the clone.
AW: What exactly went through your head as you were racing the clone?
CN: The first idea was like, “OK, how is this gonna work?” But I saw the tech that they developed for this project here. The heads-up display where you could follow the clone all the way around, it’s really getting you in the zone and saying, “Racing against yourself is the ultimate.” Competing against yourself is like competing against an open book: You know all the tricks you have, you know what it really took to beat it. And the feeling was like, “OK, I really need to up my game to beat this one here.”
AW: How did the technology in the simulator help you prepare for all of that — and for the actual race day?
CN: Castrol and REWIND built a really good simulator. I’ve never been to that track before. They developed the layout of the track so it was as accurate as we could get it. If I hadn’t done those laps it would have taken a whole lot longer to get to learn the track down there.
AW: How does high-quality motor oil strengthen your performance?
CN: The engine of our car is delivering over 1,300 horsepower, so you need a strong oil to cope with that. We’ve tested it on our engines and found out that Castrol® EDGE® was the oil that suited our engine the best. We want everything to be well-lubricated but also have as little friction as possible, [so as] to not to slow down the engine, so you will have all the power and performance. Castrol® EDGE®, known for its strength, helped us achieve that.
AW: What would using an oil like Castrol® EDGE® mean for the everyday driver?
CN: It’s a little of the same. [With a] supercar it’s of course taken to the extreme, but it’s the same in a normal work car. If you have friction, you will have wear on the engine, and you will lose performance. So if you have a good, strong oil like Castrol® EDGE® all the time, you’ll know you have a good, healthy engine throughout the life of the car.
Angela Wang is a Senior Writer for Studio@Gawker.