Celebrating the release of Gran Turismo Sport – and marking 20 years of Nissan involvement in the Gran Turismo gaming series – the one-off project car was extensively modified to be driven entirely by a DualShock®4 controller. Gran Turismo Sport will be released in the U.S. on October 17, in Europe and Australia on October 18, and in Japan on October 19.
The GT-R /C was put through its paces by NISMO athlete and GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough around Silverstone’s famous National Circuit. Mardenborough controlled the GT-R /C from the cockpit of a helicopter. On Mardenborough’s fastest lap (1:17:47), the GT-R /C averaged 76 mph/122 kph and reached a top speed of 131 mph/211 kph.
The GT-R /C is fitted with four robots that operate the steering, transmission, brakes and throttle. Six computers mounted in the rear of the car update the controls at up to 100 times a second.
The unmodified DualShock®4 connects to a micro-computer that interprets the joystick and button signals and transmits them to the GT-R /C’s onboard systems. The wireless operation has a primary control range of one kilometer.
To help Mardenborough judge the vehicle’s speed through the corners, a Racelogic VBOX Motorsport sensor was installed to relay speed data to a LCD display in the helicopter cockpit.
The GT-R /C is also fitted with two independent safety systems, operating on different radio frequencies, which allow two additional operators to apply full ABS braking and cut the engine in the event of the main operator losing control of the vehicle.
“This was once-in-a-lifetime, truly epic stuff,” said Mardenborough. “The GT-R /C has brought my two worlds together – the virtual of gaming and the reality of motorsport – in a way I never thought possible. The response from the car when using the controller was far more engaging than I thought it would be. JLB Design has done an incredible job at making everything respond really well. Steering, acceleration and braking were all intelligently configured, allowing for controlled application so I could really get a feel through the corners and hold it steady down the fast straights. Driving a full-size, remote-control GT-R to 131 mph at Silverstone whilst chasing it down in a helicopter was an unforgettable experience. Now that’s innovation that excites!”
Now racing full-time for Nissan in Japan, Mardenborough starred in the latest round of the Super GT Championship last weekend in Thailand, qualifying on the front row and setting the fastest lap of the race.
In 2018, the Nissan GT-R /C will be used in a tour of primary and secondary schools in the UK to promote future careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects.