We’ve covered designers’ creations for Kazunori Yamauchi’s Gran Turismo racing game before, most notably in this walkaround video featuring a number of full-sized models on display at Sony’s launch announcement last year. Now McLaren has entered the race, with a startling interpretation of a virtual racecar for the massively popular game: the McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo.
“The design form communicates exactly what the car’s mission is and what its intentions are: it’s the ultimate expression of the McLaren design pillars and principles we have already established, futured into the 2030s,” says McLaren Automotive design director Rob Melville.
Designing for the virtual world and unburdened by production car constraints, the McLaren team pushed company’s design philosophy boundaries well beyond current realities while remaining true to inherent principles. The exterior form follows the functional requirements. Every line and detail has a purpose.
The most jaw-dropping feature of the design is the interior and, specifically, the driver’s position within it. The pilot lays down in the cockpit, forward and centrally in the chassis, while the rest of the car is ‘shrink-wrapped’ around them. The teardrop cabin and extensive glazing ensure exceptional visibility.
“From the game player’s point of view, the driving experience in this car will be like nothing else.” notes Melville. “The amazing glass cockpit and the motorcycle-like driving position – with your head far forward, almost right above the front axle – combine to allow you to see exactly where the apex of the corner is so you can shave vital milliseconds off each lap.”
Helping to provide grip on the virtual track is ‘Integrated Active Aero’ technology, which creates drag and generates downforce by opening tiny aperture covers around air inlets on key surfaces during cornering. The Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo sound experience was also a critical part of the brief, with an exhaust system and hybrid system working together to fill the cabin with McLaren-worthy acoustics.
“We wanted to break new ground and to innovate and the McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo does exactly that,” says Melville. “It puts the driver absolutely at the center of the action, delivering a sensory overload with incredible sound and awe-inspiring acceleration.”
That acceleration is supplied via a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 driving the rear wheels, and two electric motors housed in each of the front wheel ‘pods.’ Combined power output for the hybrid powertrain is claimed to be in the neighborhood of 1134hp with 940 lb-ft of torque available from rest. Extensive carbon fiber use has also helped to keep the virtual curb weight low — the concept is said to weigh in at 1000kg. That’s a pretty healthy power to weight ratio.
Players can choose from three liveries — Performance, Ulterior and Noir — when the game goes on sale on October 17, 2017.
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