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Gran Turismo boss talks Vision GT cars

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The creator of Gran Turismo once told Top Gear that the idea for his phenomenally successful racing franchise came to him when he was just 15 years old. Fifteen.

Most of the Top Gear office was busy drawing rockets onto the side of Lamborghinis at 15, but no, Kazunori Yamauchi was busy dreaming up a game that would accurately represent road and race cars. A game where you could actually hone your skills as a real life driver.

Fast forward to today, and Gran Turismo has shifted over 70,000,000 copies worldwide through six different games, with players recording over 41,000,000,000 miles online. Forty one billion.

To celebrate the game’s phenomenal 15-year run, a while back Kazunori-san asked the world’s manufacturers to dream up designs for GT cars he could include into the game. He sounded the concept klaxon, and slowly, surely, the carmakers followed. You’ll know which ones.

So after last week’s reveal of awesome Vision GT efforts from Lexus and Alpine, we thought it was about time for a quick catch up with the digital mastermind…

Top Gear: Hi Kazunori-san! What was the idea behind the Vision GT series of cars?

Kazunori Yamauchi: Sports cars and supercars are always waiting for a reason to be born. Legendary cars that have been created in the past all came to be for one reason or another, but once they are created they kind of take off on their own and continue to shine for years, attracting people from all eras.

I think that is what makes cars interesting, so Vision Gran Turismo cars are really about making this opportunity for car manufacturers to give birth to a new car of their own with all their own characteristics.

TG: How did it work with the manufacturers?

KY: The parameter I gave them was that the car should be a Gran Turismo. Of course we maintained communication with them while they came up with different sketches and plans for their cars, but they were on their own for the design process.

TG: And how did you transfer this into the game?

KY: With the Vision Gran Turismo cars, a lot of them have relatively new drive and power systems in their design. So every time a new car came out, we would have to develop a new physics engine on our side to accommodate these designs and technology.

TG: Tell us more about the Alpine. You’re a fan of the brand, correct?

KY: The Alpine, especially the A110, was always one of my favourite cars - at least in my personal top three. When I heard two years ago that they were looking to rejuvenate their brand I thought it was a great opportunity to work with them. It just so happened that they were looking to work with us as well - so it all came together and this is the result.

TG: Which is your favourite Vision GT car so far?

KY: That is an extremely hard question to answer! This is because each of the cars shows the unique characteristics of the brand it represents.

People that would usually be working on production models or concepts put aside their daily duties and really worked hard on the design of these cars so I couldn’t possibly pick just one; every one of them has so much emotion and feeling packed into it. Due to this project, the design departments of nearly every major manufacturer is probably a month or two behind on their normal work.

TG: You’re a big fan of the Ford GT. What do you think of the new one, and will you be buying one?

KY: I haven’t had the opportunity to drive one yet, so I’d like to try one before I decide. The previous one that I owned looked good, but it was only when I took it to the test track and drove it that I decided it was a really good car.

TG: While we’re on the subject of your Ford GT, what cars do you personally have in your garage?

KY: It hasn’t changed very much for a while! I still have two Ford GTs. A Porsche [911] GT3, a Mercedes SL AMG, a Honda S2000 and a Nissan GT-R.

TG: Tell us about Honda’s new NSX.

KY: I was involved in creating the video footage and concept footage for the NSX. We worked very closely with Honda on it, so now seeing it launch, it’s almost like my own child. I’m looking forward to seeing it on the road.

New Ford GT vs new Honda NSX: FIGHT

TG: How early do you get access to new cars that will be going into Gran Turismo and how long is the process for putting them in the game?

KY: The actual process of putting the car in the game takes about six months, but the time period in which we see concepts from manufacturers can be up to two years in advance…

Now tell us: what’s your favourite Vision GT car so far? Choose from this list here

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