To celebrate the launch of Gran Turismo Sport, Nissan has created a GT-R with... a difference. Rather than relying on a driver or conventional remote, the GT-R/C is controlled with a DualShock 4 unit from the PlayStation 4.
The company sat Nismo driver, Jann Mardenborough, in an R44 Raven II helicopter and let him loose at Silverstone to show off its new toy.
Relying on four in-car robots to make steering, gearbox, brake and throttle inputs, the GTR/C also features six computers hidden in the boot feeding new information to the control robots up to 100 times per second.
Above: the unique system tasked with controlling the GT-R/C
The PS4 controller wasn’t modified for the stunt, although it was connected to a special computer designed to translate the joystick and button inputs into a language the car could understand. A 1-kilometre transmission range allowed the driver to control proceedings from a helicopter.
To make sure a transmission error didn't turn the GT-R/C into an expensive, uncontrollable missile, there were two safety systems operating on different radio frequencies in the car. Two backup drivers were on hand to cut the engine or apply full ABS braking in case of an emergency.
Unique control system aside, the 2011-spec GT-R was unmodified, meaning Mardenborough still had more than 400kW of power on tap during the lap. His fastest lap of the Silverstone National Circuit was 1 minute 17.47 seconds at an average speed of 122 km/h, and the car topped out at 211 km/h.
Mardenborough had a live VBOX data feed in the helicopter cabin during the stunt, but Nissan (disappointingly) didn’t manage make an authentic green, red and yellow racing line appear on the track in true Gran Turismo style.
Having completed its work as a promotional tool for Gran Turismo Sport, the GT-R/C will be taken on a tour of British schools to encourage children to explore careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.