Saturday, January 10, 2009

Virtual becomes reality

There are mixed feelings in the Nissan PlayStation team after the TOYO tires 24h of Dubai endurance race. Everyone feels hard done by after such a merciless run of bad luck in the first 12 hours; the drivers were all magnificent when allowed onto the track and the pit crew worked miracles amidst trying circumstances to keep the car in the running long into Saturday morning. One victory that every team member can take credit for is for doing what nobody else has ever done – taking a novice from the virtual world of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue and developing him into a real racing driver.

The ease of his transition may surprise some, but not Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi. “It is a dream come true for me to see my game develop a real racing driver,” he said. “I have been hoping for it to happen for ten years.”

“Lucas’s performance has been excellent, but I would expect that from a driver trained using Gran Turismo. I haven’t had much time to watch him drive but he is very calm and never seems to worry. I always believed that someone good at GT could drive as fast as a professional; in fact, I think that they could even go faster.”

Lars will perhaps feel the greatest disappointment, but what he has achieved in such a short time is also astounding and he too now has a stepping stone into racing that so few get.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of an endurance race is being around people that can remain laid-back amidst such fierce competition and incredible feats of skill and endurance. The Nissan PlayStation team has achieved so much in this race, and any disappointment will be taken on the chin. The one phrase you hear constantly when walking along the pit-lanes is: “that’s motorsport!”