”The real driving simulator” indeed.

Nissan’s GT-R is often referred to as “the PlayStation sports car,” due to the fact that before the release of the very first Gran Turismo video game in 1998, much of the English-speaking world had never heard of Nissan’s halo car. Its heroic in-game performance soon made it an object of desire for motoring enthusiasts around the world, but it wouldn’t be until several years later that Nissan made the car available in the American and European markets, and by then the mental connection between the GT-R and Gran Turismo had become permanent.

So it’s entirely appropriate that to celebrate the upcoming release of Gran Turismo Sport, the newest entry in the series, Nissan put together a special one-off GT-R that the driver controls not by gripping the wheels or stepping on the pedals, but by using a PlayStation 4 controller.

▼ Nope, the car isn’t parked in this shot.

Yes, that’s an actual GT-R speeding around England’s Silverstone Circuit in the video. Specifically, it’s the GT-R/C, since it’s a radio-controlled GT-R, piloted with a standard DualShock 4 controller that’s plugged into a computer that remotely controls a series of robots installed in the car’s interior which manipulate the wheel, accelerator, brakes, and transmission.

At the controls is professional racer Jann Mardenborough, who’s an apt choice for a number of reasons. Not only is Mardenborough a driver for Nissan Motorsport (and previously Impul, a Japanese racing team with deep ties to Nissan), Mardenborough’s racing career began when he won the GT Academy competition, a Gran Turismo contest which takes the game’s fastest players and put them into real-world racer development programs. In other words, Mardenborough has plenty of experience piloting a GT-R with a PlayStation controller, though until now it was always with a virtual version of the car, instead of the real thing.

Silverstone is a big track, though, so in order to keep an eye on his full-scale R/C car, Mardenborough hopped into a helicopter for a bird’s-eye view.

▼ The relay rig boosts the DualShock’s range to a full kilometer (0.6 miles).

As you’d expect from someone with plenty of racing experience in both the virtual and physical worlds, Mardenborough was no slouch. On his fasted lap with the GT-R/C, he clocked a time of 1 minute, 17.47 seconds, which is impressive considering that the Silverstone single-lap record of 1 minute, 30.621 seconds was set by a fully race-prepped F1 car. Mardenborough even managed to get the GT-R/C up to 211 kilometers (131 miles) per hour on his best lap.

“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,” said Mardenborough, who was all smiles after his time with the car, which will now be sent on a tour of British schools to promote educational and professional interest in science and technology. Hopefully when that’s done we can talk Nissan into letting us take it for a spin, since we’re running low on butter.

Source: Nissan via IT Media
Images: YouTube/NissanUK

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