Jann Mardenborough followed just such a path, and in a different coming together of video games and real life, has remotely driven an actual Nissan GT-R at speeds of up to 211 km/h (131 mph) using a PlayStation DualShock 4 controller.
It was the ideal opportunity for Jann to show off his skills after he made it to the top tier of racing after impressing in Nissan's GT Academy that takes amateur gamers and gives them a shot at real-life motorsport. Being in the helicopter with the auto always pointing away from you makes things easier.
In total four computers and six robots were needed to make the auto work. And it performed: the vehicle 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.
The GT-R /C, as it has been named, has been modified by United Kingdom firm JLB Design with mechanical parts to control the steering, throttle and brakes, as well as the gear selector, so it can be driven externally without anyone on board. And all this via unmodified DualShock4 gaming controller that connects to a micro-computer interpreting the joystick and button signals and transmiting them to the GT-R /C's onboard systems. The wireless operation has a primary control range of one kilometer. These systems were also linked to the vehicle wirelessly, but operated on different radio frequencies for the sake of redundancy.
"This was once-in-a-lifetime, truly epic stuff", Mardenborough said. Many of the Nissan cars including GT-R are considering as a part of games, while the automaker also has used those series as a tool for recruiting the drivers for factory race via the company's program, i.e. GTAcademy.
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And race ace Jann Mardenborough took to the joystick to show off the prototype around Silverstone - created to mark the release of the new Gran Turismo Sport video game. JLB Design has done an incredible job at making everything respond really well.
That's Jann Mardenborough at the controls.
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..
Anyway, the Nissan GT-R /C managed to whip around Silverstone completely remotely controlled by the DualShock controller.