Imagine controlling a real car just like you would a model, remote-controlled vehicle.
Nissan has done just that with the ultimate remote-control car for gamers – the Nissan GT-R /C.
Celebrating the release of Gran Turismo Sport, the one-off project car was extensively modified so it could be driven entirely by a DualShock4 controller.
The finished car was then put through its paces by NISMO racing driver Jann Mardenborough, around Silverstone’s famous National Circuit.
Jann controlled the GT-R /C from the cockpit of a Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter, which had been given special permission to operate at a low altitude.
Mardenborough is one of the most successful winners of GT Academy, Nissan’s revolutionary driver discovery and development program.
He was approached to be the first driver of the GT-R /C because of his unrivalled talent in both Gran Turismo gaming and real-life motorsport.
On his fastest lap (1:17:47), the GT-R /C averaged 122km/h and reached a top speed of 211km/h – the ‘driven’ average for the 2.57km circuit is around 134km/h.
The remote-control car is capable of a top speed of 315km/h, with absolutely no one sitting behind the wheel.
The GT-R /C is fitted with four robots that operate the steering, transmission, brakes and throttle.
Six computers mounted in the boot update the controls at up to 100 times a second.
The steering position is measured to one part in 65,000.
The unmodified DualShock4 connects to a micro-computer which interprets the joystick and button signals and transmits them to the GT-R /C’s on-board systems.
The wireless operation has a primary control range of one kilometre.
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,” Mardenborough said.
“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 131mph at Silverstone whilst chasing it down in a helicopter was an unforgettable experience,” he said.