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Developer(s)Joe Venzon, Chris Guirl, Dick Maurer, Matthew Nicholson
Initial releaseMarch 29, 2005; 13 years ago (2005-03-29)
Stable release
vdrift-2012-07-22 / July 22, 2012; 6 years ago (2012-07-22)
Written inunknown rendering engine, with Vamos physics engine
PlatformLinux, FreeBSD, OS X, Microsoft Windows
TypeSingle player Racing simulator
LicenseGPLv3[1] (originally GPLv2)
Screenshot of Vdrift (version from 2015).
Screenshot of Stunt Rally a derivative of Vdrift.

VDrift is a cross-platform, free/open source driving simulation made with drift racing in mind. It is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL) v3. It is currently available for Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows.


The goals of the VDrift project are:

  • to be a high-quality, open source racing simulation featuring enjoyable and challenging gameplay;
  • to take advantage of modern computing hardware to accurately simulate vehicle physics in rich and immersive racing environments; and
  • to provide a platform for creative experimentation to a community of developers and artists.


VDrift was created by Joe Venzon in early 2005. A fan of Gran Turismo, Joe had a lot of fun trying to drift in GT4, though he was disappointed with GT4's physics after loss of traction. Looking around online, the open source Vamos Automotive Simulator performed much better, although the graphics and features were minimal. Building around Vamos, using code adapted from his earlier 3D engine experiments, Joe created the first version of VDrift.

So far, every release has been a testing/development quality release. For this and other reasons, dates are used instead of version numbers.

The driving physics engine was recently[when?] re-written from scratch but was inspired by and owes much to the Vamos physics engine.

Originally developed on a Sourceforge repository, the project seems to have shifted around 2011 to a GitHub one.


This game is in the early stages of development but is already very playable. Currently the game features:

  • 45 tracks based on famous real-world tracks
  • 39 cars based on real-world vehicles
  • Very realistic, simulation-grade driving physics
  • Mouse/joystick/gamepad/wheel/keyboard support
  • Fully modeled tracks, scenery and terrain
  • Several different camera modes
  • Basic replay system with Skip Forward/Skip Backward
  • Fully customizable controls
  • Joystick, mouse and keyboard input filtering
  • Brake and reverse lights
  • Driver aids: automatic shifting, traction control, anti-lock braking
  • Experimental force feedback
  • Race against up to 3 AI with variable difficultly
  • Engine and road sounds

Reception and impact[edit]

The game was reviewed between 2006 and 2009 by multiple websites.[2][3][4][5]

The game became a quite popular downloadable freeware title and was downloaded between 2005 and May 2017 alone via Sourceforge over 2.3 million times,[6] Softpedia counted 58,000 downloads,[7] and Softonic another 175,000 downloads in May 2017.[8][9][10][11]


Due to the Free and open source license of Vdrift forks and derivatives are possible and encouraged. Stunt Rally is an example which is based on VDrift and uses OGRE.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ license on github.com
  2. ^ Chris Barylick (July 25, 2006) The Slacker's Guide - VDrift: Open Source Racing on the Mac, macobserver.com
  3. ^ John Knight (November 1, 2008) VDrift—Open-Source Drift Racing Simulator, Linux Journal New Projects - Fresh from the Labs
  4. ^ Marcel Gagné (November 1, 2007) Cooking with Linux - Because Nothing Says High Performance Like a Good Race, Linux Journal
  5. ^ Jon Riggall, A free racing simulator, Softonic review of 2009-06-15 version
  6. ^ stats 2000-05-19+to+2017-05-25 on sourceforge.net
  7. ^ Vdrift - Editor pick on softpedia.com (May 2017)
  8. ^ vdrift en on softonic.com (May 2017)
  9. ^ vdrift es on softonic.com (May 2017)
  10. ^ vdrift de on softonic.com (May 2017)
  11. ^ vdrift fr on softonic.com (May 2017)
  12. ^ stuntrally on sourceforge.net

External links[edit]