Nissan has taken a remote-controlled GT-R on-track for the first time at Silverstone. The car, powered by a video game controller in the hands of Jann Mardenborough, achieved a top speed of 131MPH during the running.
The car, dubbed the Nissan GT-R /C, was created to celebrate the release of the upcoming Gran Turismo Sport video game and the twentieth anniversary of Nissan’s partnership with the game franchise. The car, extensively modified, is able to be driven by a standard PlayStation DualShock®4 controller.
Mardenborough piloted the car from the passenger seat of a helicopter that followed the vehicle around the Silverstone National Circuit. To aid his driving a head-up display, similar to that seen in video games such as Gran Turismo, fed information such as speed directly to Jann. Additionally, multiple safety systems were also in place so that other operators could stop the car should Jann have lost control of the car.
The fastest lap achieved by Mardenborough and the GT-R /C was a 1:17.47 with an average speed of 76mph and a top speed of 131mph on the Wellington straight. For comparison, the pole position time set by Jack Goff in last month’s British Touring Car Championship race at the same circuit was 58.65-seconds. For the GT-R /C to be less than twenty seconds slower on debut than a dialled in race car and driver is quite remarkable.
Mardenborough is no stranger to using a controller to drive, having made his name through the Nissan GT Academy that took gamers from the console to the race-track. Jann graduated from the academy back in 2011 and was given the opportunity to race as a Nissan driver. Since then, he has gone on to race at the Le Mans 24 Hours as well as Formula Three, GP3 and currently the Japanese Super GT and Super Formula championships.
“This was once-in-a-lifetime, truly epic stuff. 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,” Mardenborough said, “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. Now that’s innovation that excites!”
You can watch the full video of Mardenborough’s run in the remote-controlled Nissan GT-R below, courtesy of Nissan UK on YouTube.