Virtual Drift Championship..
Who are they and what is it?
VDC was founded in 2016 with the intention of creating the ultimate competitive drifting e-sport. Since then the team has developed it to bring it to where it is today. Two weekends ago they had their first round of their fourth season. The live streams are now reaching just over 26,000 people, with over 10,000 engagements and a peak of 396 concurrent viewers.
VDC was set up by three friends, Chris Wiltowski, Sam Sheffield and Craig Fulghum.
So who are these guys you ask?
Chris Wiltowski first ran into drifting back in about 2007-2008 when he came across random videos on the internet of D1GP and he was a fan from there on. He also got into sim racing shortly after and played a lot of Live For Speed. Another passion started he started to really get into photography and used it as an excuse to match two passions, he shot a few events over the next few years, working for a couple of websites, which have now all been deleted a really small blog called Trackslide and also for Status Error. Through that and the sim racing he made a few friends in the UK drifting community and went with them to some rounds of BDC. Chris fell out of it during his undergraduate degree which started in 2013 but got back into the swing of things during his Masters in late 2016. He actually started out in VDC as a driver earning his pro licence for their inaugural season in 2017, but after the first event they asked him to help with judging at which point he transitioned across to being behind the scenes. Chris quickly became the head judge and slowly took over working with drivers for the physics on their cars in the series. Since then, through VDC he has gotten back in contact with a few people from the old days. VDC has also given him an outlet to scratch his itch for the engineering knowledge he has.As in order to create cars that are a realistic representation of their real life counterparts, they have had to develop physics for each chassis and engine.
Sam Sheffield first became interested in drifting during 2013 when he found a YouTube channel called Bandana boy whose name was Lukas Skersas. After that he was hooked, regularly watching Drift All-stars. later on, he ended up working for a company called The Fast Factory. Throughout the 2015 season The Fast Factory sponsored a competitive drift car that competed in Drift All-stars driven by Australian drifter Luke Fink. Then, in 2016 he started sim drifting as a way of teaching myself how to drift at a low cost. Since that point he has bought and daily driven a 1985 Toyota Levin AE86 and he is trying to push his drifting in real life. He also had the pleasure of helping one of his drifting idols Martin Richards in Drift Masters for the 2019 season with him finishing 5th in his first year back competing in Europe. Sam got involved with VDC competing as a pro-am driver and ended up helping out judging some of the pro rounds. He later on went to earn his pro licence and started competing in an SR powered AE86 later a replica of the Driftworks DW86. Within VDC he helps with the general management, driver relations and social media .
The third man of the VDC team is Craig Fulghum he always loved sliding a car around a corner, as it was something his dad would do from time to time while Craig was growing up,but he first got into drifting back in 2004 after watching the first round of Formula DRIFT Atlanta. A track that he normally attended to drive SCCA events and such. Throughout the years he drove at a couple of local events here and there until about 2009 when he started a little family and my track time significantly slowed down. Meanwhile he was really big into playing Forza Motorsports in his downtime, built some great friendships throughout the years, and it seemed to scratch his itch for racing and drifting enough. Until he got his first real simulator set up in 2015 and started playing Assetto Corsa on PC. A couple of his Forza buddies made the switch as well, one of them being Matt Vankirk and VDC Judge Matt Erickson. In 2018, he received his Virtual Drift Championship License for their 2nd Season just before the start of the Formula Drift Championship.Being that VDC allows you to use your own car of choice, he chose to have Matt Vankirk's FD Pro car replicated,not only for him to drive in VDC, but for Matt to drive as well for training purposes and to drive in VDC when he had the time, he had not met Matt yet but him and his team, which included a couple more Forza buddies, were going to Orlando for FD which was only a few hours away. During his first Season with The Virtual Drift Championship, he did well and was on course to finish the Season out in 3rd Place overall, while also commentating the series starting Round 3. Finals came around and the VDC Staff needed someone to run the l live stream at the last minute.Craig gave up his spot, and chose not to drive, and take care of the live stream instead. This turned into Craig running the live stream and commentating the 2018-2019 Season as well as this Season.
Looking to the future, we are striving to make this a professional e-sport and are always looking for brands that wish to work with us to further this aim.
Sarah: How did the series come together between the 3 of ye? Did ye know each other beforehand?
Chris: It was actually started by a group of other people who have since stepped away for various reasons. The three of us have met through the series as we all came into it as drivers.
Chris switched from driving to judging at the second event of the first season. Sam also came in as a driver and now runs the social media platforms alongside Craig. Craig was a driver and has transitioned across to streaming, commentary and social media.
Sarah: Who was the main person behind it, or was it a 3 way street so to speak?
Chris: We all came in at various intervals and all contribute different skill sets which has allowed the series to flourish.
Sarah: Did it cost much to initially set up?
Chris: The cost in man hours is far beyond being able to make a guess, and the team extends further than the three of us. We also have to thank Andreas for co-commentating with Craig on stream, Dion, Ed and Matt for judging as well as Jack for helping out with some 3d modelling behind the scenes. Finally, a massive massive thank you has to go out to Jokah Designs who has created a couple of bespoke tracks & track layouts for the series. We truly cannot express enough gratitude to them all as without everyone doing their bit this series would not function as smoothly as it does.
Sarah: What was/is the aim behind VDC? Both now and in the future?
Chris: The aim is to make this the most professional & competitive drifting e-sport's series and are always looking for brands that wish to work with us to further this aim.
Sarah: Where do you see VDC going in the future? 5 years time?
Chris: Ideal world? Running live events in a similar fashion to the SRO Events that have been running alongside the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup this year. Whilst still maintaining the online series during winter.
Sarah: Is there any drifter worldwide that you would like to see get involved with/play VDC?
Chris: We welcome any current pro driver to our series, we have a petition system so if any pro driver wants the chance to compete get in contact with us via our social media platforms!
Sarah: Any random fact about VDC you can tell us?
Chris: VDC Allows drivers from all around the world to compete against each other where they might not ever get the chance to in other circumstances.
Want to follow VDC on social media, check out their links below!