Video: Nissan does some crazy, cool stuff sometimes. Most of it is related to the GT-R, a barnstorming all-wheel-drive supercar that can sprint from zero to 100km/h in well under three seconds.
Its latest stunt is the perfect cross-over between real life and video games, though — the company hooked up a GT-R with servomotors and robotics to control steering, acceleration, braking and gearshifts, and then made all that run through a PlayStation 4 controller.
The one-off project car was based on a 2011 Nissan R35 GT-R, a factory-stock car rather than a dedicated racing variant or a hotted-up NISMO. To celebrate the launch of Gran Turismo Sport in Europe, as well as 20 years of Nissan working with Gran Turismo
Nissan then put famously successful NISMO racing driver Jann Mardenborough in a helicopter, flying at low altitude — the company needed special permission for that — and unleashed him and the GT-R/C on the track at Silverstone. And it performed: the car topped out at 210km/h on the National Circuit’s longest straight and recorded a best lap time of 1:17.47, as well as an average speed of 122km/h versus the human-driven car’s average of 134km/h. (No word on the best human-driven lap time, unfortunately.)
Nissan also runs the GT Academy race series that brings console racing drivers into the real world — Aussie racer Matt Simmons, who is currently running in the 2017 Blancpain GT Endurance series, got his start by winning the worldwide 2015 GT Academy.
After this demonstration run, Nissan will tour the GT-R/C around schools in the UK to promote STEM education.