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Gaming: Nissan’s Le Mans racer hits GT6
It’s not quite a case of life imitating art, but it’s not far off. Nissan’s brand new, never-been-raced Le Mans prototype, the GT-R LM Nismo, makes its debut in Gran Turismo 6 today, just under two weeks before its first competitive outing.
Unlocked by simply setting a time in the final in-game GT Academy event, a lap around the La Sarthe track that hosts the 24-hour enduro, the LMP1 racer is yours for free if you own the PS3 game. Merry racing game Christmas, everyone.
The racer itself is the result of some seriously weird science. The GT-R LM is front-engined front-wheel drive, with nose-heavy weight bias meaning almost all the downforce is generated at the front, allowing Nissan to run skinny rear tyres.
The aero package boasts the kind of unknowable, non-Euclidean geometry of which HP Lovecraft would be proud. Gaping tunnels that run the length of the chassis funnel air around a teardrop-shaped tub to keep drag to an absolute minimum.
The result? The fastest overall time at the speed trap during last Sunday’s Le Mans test day, if not yet a likely contender for the 24-hour crown.
Put simply, don’t expect this to handle like anything you’ve raced in a simulation before. Just remembering to mash the throttle instead of lifting when you get oversteer is likely to be disorientating enough compared to the other LMP1 machinery in the game.
Even the hybrid twin-turbo V6 engine, a variant of which is confirmed for the next road-going GT-R, is mated to a mere five-speed gearbox because it’s so fantastically torquey. Fewer gear changes means less transmission wear, which means more chance of finishing the race. Unless you crash.
Of course, what makes this particular car’s arrival in Gran Turismo so cosmically perfect is that Nissan’s driver line-up for Le Mans 2015 includes three GT Academy graduates, Jann Mardenborough, Lucas Ordóñez and Mark Shulzhitskiy - living proof that fast sim racers can be fast racing drivers.
You never know, set a good enough time in the game and it could be you folding yourself up like a deckchair to fit into the cockpit of a GT-R LM Nismo in a few years’ time…