Remote controlled Nissan GT-R at Silverstone

I had this idea twenty years ago. The release of the original Gran Turismo coincided with my first year of driving, which by the summer of 1998 had mostly consisted of spinning my mum's Citroen AX into the breakers yard.

Kazunori Yamauchi's masterpiece was much easier to get to grips with and rather easier on the insurance premiums. I rewarded its five-year development process with a near solid year of game time, interrupted only by the very mild guilt of missing lectures.

Practice, of course, makes perfect. And there's only so many endurance races a teenage boy can win before he arrives at the inescapable conclusion that the controller making it all happen ought to be the logical method of making a real car move.

Of course, in my version the controller looked as though it had been wired into the dashboard by Terry Gilliam, and you sat hunched over it in the driver's seat, thumbs on fire with all the X-button mashing (followed, you'd suspect, by terrified mashing of the square-button).

Nissan's solution, it seems, is rather more elegant. You and the controller stay outside the car, while four robotic arms (or legs?) operate the steering, transmission, brakes and throttle.

Six computers in the boot are responsible for updating the control systems, at a rate of up to 100 times a second. These computers are the civil servants to your ham-fisted ministerial work at an unmodified DualShock4 controller.

Except it's not you of course, it's been left to the much better qualified Jann Mardenborough - he of GT Academy-winning fame - to put the so-called GT-R/C around Silverstone's national circuit, having been whipped into the air for a better view.

Needless to say, chasing a GT-R around a racing circuit aboard a helicopter at speeds of up to 130mph is all rather cool, and while we'd be dreading the latency times, Jann seems to be enjoying himself right royally.

Next year the car will go onto the rather more worthy job of touring primary and secondary schools to promote careers in science, technology, engineering and maths. But for now, it's laid on purely for your coffee-drinking amusement.




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Comments (11) Join the discussion on the forum

  • phil4 12 Oct 2017

    With all the electronics the car already has, and almost certainly fly-by-wire throttle... why did it need to physically push the accelerator?

  • mylesmcd 12 Oct 2017

    Top comment above!

    More over, why does that lad need a flame proof suit?

  • ben5575 12 Oct 2017

    And filmed from above with blacked out windows so you can't see inside the car when it's on the track... scratchchin

    Not sure the sound track truly reflects the actual track speed either...

  • Boydie88 13 Oct 2017

    Well that's a childhood dream. Awesome stuff.

  • rtz62 13 Oct 2017

    I may be the only one to say this but....
    Perhaps it's my age, but the video just leaves me......cold?
    Appreciate the technology involved etc etc but it seemed like a film of a film of someone playing GT, but not using real people or machines, if you get my meaning?

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