That bloke only wants to play.
Volkswagen shatters the boundaries between cyberspace and reality with its “GTI Roadster, Vision Gran Turismo”. At Wörthersee, the company presented the fastest GTI of all time.
Gran Turismo is one of the leading car racing games on the market. The word “game”, however, hardly does the thing justice. The subtitle of the GT series, “The Real Driving Simulator”, reveals what is really at stake here: providing players with a realistic racing experience. The Volkswagen team soon learned what that meant in terms of the car’s construction. Rucigaj: “Sony makes extremely realistic simulations. You can’t just say the car has 2,000 hp. They want to know every detail and technical feature. ‘Where is the engine? What does it weigh? What kind of chassis? What type of transmission?’ Afterwards the car performs exactly as we built it.” The programmers incorporate all the technical details, so the virtual model includes all the driving characteristics the car on the road would have. In other words, it’s not enough to draw a race car that looks cool and sporty. If the technology isn’t just right or the design impedes the aerodynamics, then the performance is less than it should be. Game over.
Designers and engineers worked full steam on the car together for six months. That’s an absolutely record-breaking time, especially as there is no established routine for a project like this. Volkswagen has years of experience to fall back on in normal car production, such as how and in which order to run processes. This vehicle’s dual production mode across two worlds demanded special care and creativity. When a detail in the virtual model changed, the show car had to be adapted 1:1. Moreover, there is the time difference between Japan and Germany. The strictly confidential car data could only be sent through a secure connection with a separate password. Other decisions were required much earlier than is customary. Hammerbeck: “We had to coordinate with Sony on the colour early in the process and send selected colour samples to Japan so that the car looked perfect in the game.” The final result is Gran Turismo Red, a new iteration of the classic GTI colour Tornado Red. The team felt that it was important to base the car’s creation on its original GTI “genes”. Hammerbeck: “We used and enhanced a lot of original elements. The chosen colour is a nod to the first GTI. It is dynamic, sexy and powerful.”
The team has created a sports car with character and extreme features, such as the flat cut of the windscreen and the prominent fixed rear wing. Rucigaj: “Lots of people play with the PlayStation who are not necessarily GTI or car freaks in general. Our challenge was to make the GTI and Volkswagen fans happy on the one hand, and on the other to have PlayStation gamers say “Wow! I just have to play with that car.’”
They certainly solved that task masterfully. At the Wörthersee event fans crowd around the GTI Roadster to get a better look. The design team’s initial tension has given way to exuberance. They are relaxed now as they talk shop with Kazunori Yamauchi and his Japanese colleagues about the show car and test the virtual Roadster version on the PlayStation together. Everyone is enthusiastic about the collaboration. Hammerbeck: “We connect through our shared love for detail. Both companies are perfectionists. It’s very possible that the cooperation will be expanded.” Stay tuned.