ben treston

This just got real... From Playstation to racing circuit


Having just spent two days working on the filming for Nissan’s GT5 Academy Programme, it was very interesting to see something a few years ago I thought may actually turn out to be a reality - the search for a racing driver via your gaming console.

Drivers from around Europe were selected after competing on Grand Turismo 5 on their Playstation 3 - they had to set lap times and the fastest from specific areas in the EU were all put through a series of challenges culminating in the tasks I witnessed - which involved tests of strength, endurance and of course, racing.

Nissan has done this programme very well, and the whole thing was being filmed for a TV programme to be broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK in September this year. It was fascinating to see these guys - who appear to be just old enough to drive - to actually get into the driving boots and start taking on challenges.

Seeing them get into a Nissan GT4 racing car today and go very quickly over the Stowe circuit at Silverstone really made me wonder if all of the practice on the PS3 had paid off - the concepts of late braking, apex and car control all derived from a game. Admittedly they had some world class instructors on their side for each of the teams - but this just added to the pressure on these lads.

I am sure the adrenaline was running high, compared to being on the sofa - and as a few of them learnt, there is no reset button to put your car gracefully back on the circuit again.

Of course, nothing can beat track time in a real car from a young age, but indeed seeing the commitment of all of the drivers present gives real thought about how realistic some driving games are getting and how this can filter down to driving in the real world.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I shall pick up my controller and get back to completing the career mode on WRC on the Playstation.