GMC lets you race a truck-pulled wagon

The truck brand puts a twist on one of the Calgary Stampede's most popular events using virtual reality.

General Motors’ GMC brand has set up a gamified virtual reality activation in between the dirt and excitement of the Calgary Stampede to give attendees a taste of what it’s like to be at the centre of the action.

The “GMC Rangeland Derby VR” experience allows up to four attendees to sit behind the reigns of a chuckwagon and race the Half Mile of Hell. That’s already the kind of thing most people at the Stampede will likely never be able to do, but GMC made it more unique by replacing the horses that usually pull the covered wagon with a Sierra 2500 pickup truck.

To add a bit of real-world flair to the experience, a host will be on-site to call the races as they happen.

GMC worked with its experiential agency Momentum Worldwide on the activation, with Dallas-based studio Flight School helping to create the VR experience.

In addition to sponsoring the Stampede for 31 years and currently being a name sponsor of its GMC Rangeland Derby races, GMC is also a sponsor of of the World Professional Chuckwagon Association racing tour.

“North American teams in Canada and the U.S. have been working to bring this GMC Rangeland Derby VR experience to life for months,” said Jason Alan Snyder, global CTO for Momentum Worldwide, in a press release. “It’s an exciting, immersive experience that was formulated to bring fans as close as possible to the deepest and most authentic aspects of GMC and their sponsorship of the Calgary Stampede.”

The GMC brand is among the wealth of auto brands who have used VR to give people a virtual test drive, particularly in experiential activations at events and auto shows.

Last year, it also used VR in an experience that did not feature any of its trucks or SUVs, but instead recreated a skydive as part of its U.S.-based “#EnlistMe” CSR campaign in support of injured military veterans.