A Nissan GT-R with a PS4 controller
Gaming equipment now controls a real-life racing car. By David Linklater.
The Nissan GT-R is often thought of as the ultimate PlayStation (PS) car.
But to mark the release of the latest Gran Turismo Sport game and two decades of involvement in the GT-game series, Nissan has created a one-off remote-operated GT-R that you can actually drive with a PS4 controller.
The remote-control vehicle – dubbed the GT-R/C – is capable of 315kmh without anybody actually behind the wheel.
The GT-R/C has been put through its paces by Nismo racing driver Jann Mardenborough around Silverstone’s famous National Circuit in the UK. Jann controlled the GT-R/C from the cockpit of a Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter, which had been given special permission to operate at a low altitude.
Mardenborough is handy with both PS4 controller and steering wheel: he’s one of the most successful winners of GT Academy, Nissan’s ‘‘driver discovery and development’’ programme that puts gamers into real-life motorsport.
The GT-R/C is built around a standard-spec V6-powered 2011 R35 – which dates from the same year Mardenborough won the GT Academy.
On Mardenborough’s fastest lap (1:17:47), the GT-R/C averaged 122kmh and reached a top speed of 211kmh. The ‘‘driven’’ average for the 2.6km loop circuit is around 134kmh.
The GT-R/C is fitted with four robots that operate the steering, transmission, brakes and throttle. Six computers mounted in the boot update the controls at up to 100 times per second. The steering position is measured to one part in 65,000.
The unmodified PS DualShock4 controller connects to a microcomputer which interprets the joystick and button signals and transmits them to the GT-R/C’s onboard systems. The wireless operation has a primary control range of one kilometre.
To help Mardenborough judge the vehicle’s speed through the corners, a Racelogic VBox Motorsport sensor was installed to relay speed data to a LCD display in the helicopter cockpit.
The GT-R/C is also fitted with two independent safety systems, operating on different radio frequencies, which allow two additional operators to apply full ABS braking and cut the engine in the event of the main operator losing control of the vehicle.
In 2018, the Nissan GT-R /C will be used in a tour of primary and secondary schools in the UK to promote future careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects.
Nissan GT-R/C capable of 315kmh – all courtesy of a PS4 game controller.