Gran Turismo, has become a bridge for fans of computer games into the world of racing.
For esports fans, car simulator competitions are not in great demand. But in recent years, this niche has grown significantly by attracting fans of real racing. Gran Turismo was the first simulator that gave players the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a real racing car.
The father of all simulators
Gran Turismo is an exclusive series of car simulators for PlayStation consoles, the first part of which was released in 1997. By that time, the world of video games had enough different races, but the creator of Gran Turismo Kazunori Yamauchi conceived the seemingly impossible – to make a game that would be as close as possible to real driving.
The technologies of those years and the performance of hardware did not allow us to make realistic physics and graphics. But Gran Turismo was the first to offer players at least a little bit of a sense of how difficult it is to take turns on racetracks and how important trajectory, speed and correct gear are.
GT had a huge number of licensed cars that other racing games could only dream of. The fact is that Gran Turismo was not limited to Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin and other cars, which in reality are available only to a select few. The developers added charged versions of popular and relatively cheap cars like Subaru Impreza WRX STI, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Honda Civic Type-R and others to the game.
From virtual races to real ones
Auto racing is not a cheap hobby. The car itself, constantly worn out units and assemblies, tires, as well as the ability to go to the highway cost unrealistic money. Another thing is a car simulator. In order to master it perfectly, a copy of the game, a good steering wheel with pedals and gearbox, and a console are enough.
Driving on virtual tracks, players gain a lot of necessary knowledge for real racing. And the GT Academy program just gave the virtual racers a chance to prove themselves on real tracks and cars. The winners were invited to the Nissan Motorsport racing team, which competed in several professional series under the auspices of the International Federation of Motor Sports (FIA).
Players aged 18 and over with Category B rights were allowed to participate. After an online selection that lasted two months, the top 24 riders from each participating country were selected. Then the best of the best were brought to the Silverstone racing track in Great Britain, where they passed various tests, not only racing, but also for physical training.
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Nissan selected the winner, who received a contract with a racing team, underwent additional training, and after receiving a racing license, entered the official FIA competitions. The champions received something cooler than just the FIA GT Championship, an annual FIA award ceremony at the Academic Philharmonic. Shostakovich in St. Petersburg.
For the first time, virtual racers were on a par with Formula 1. This event is a real indicator that racing esports, especially in Gran Turismo, does not just exist, but is recognized at the highest level. The game itself continues to evolved – with each update, more tracks, cars and online leagues appear.