Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi interview

As his latest work – Gran Turismo 6 – launches on the Playstation 3, we speak to series creator and occasional racer Kazunori Yamauchi

evo: How has racing cars in real life benefited the game’s development?

Kazunori: I’ve been driving a racing car with lots of different sensors mounted on the car. They record how the ride height of the car changes, how that changes in relation to the aerodynamic effects, and how the steering balance then changes, and we’ve made a lot of discoveries from this data. It’s the first time in motor racing history that that’s happened. I drove the GT-R GT3 on the Nürburgring. We fed all this data into the game and I drove it exactly the same in Gran Turismo.

What’s your favourite car to drive?

I prefer front-engine, rear-wheel-drive cars. That’s the type of car where the movements are very linear. My favourite new car in GT6 is the C7 Corvette Stingray.

Ayrton Senna features in the GT6 opening movie. Are you a big fan?

There are two things that I learnt from Senna; how incredible modern racing is and his strive for perfection. I was really affected by his perfectionism. I think there was a time when 90 per cent of the things in my mind were related to Ayrton Senna!

I honestly think Senna is someone who should be forever in our history; there’s a generation of GT players who don’t know who he is. I thought it was our last opportunity to really convey who he was to them.

How keen have manufacturers been to produce Vision Gran Turismo concepts?

Our message to the manufacturers was very simple – for the 15th year of Gran Turismo, would they be able to make a gran turismo, a sports car, in tribute? At first my expectations weren’t that high – if we got three I’d be happy. In reality a lot more [28] came back saying they’d love to do it, showing how much GT is loved by the carmakers. Each of those projects has well over 100 people working on those cars.

GT6 has perfectly recreated night skies of stars and planets. Why is astrology so important to ‘The Real Driving Simulator’?

We’re really working to create everything of the environment around the cars, one thing at a time. For example if you’re driving on Mount Panorama at night for real, you’re going to start seeing the planets and stars, and it’s actually part of the racing experience. We wanted to do it right and make sure it’s properly represented like the weather already is. And it gives you something extra to enjoy in the replay!

The first Gran Turismo launched 15 years ago. Where will it go over the next 15?

The next 15 years isn’t going to just be about improving the graphics and simulation physics. The real and virtual ‘edge effect’ activity [real-life collaborations like the GT Academy racing driver development programme] is the part with the real possibilities.

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