David Coulthard gives GT5 gamers a driving lesson
Gran Turismo 5’s reputation as the ‘real driving simulator’ was tested today in an event held by Mercedes-Benz in partnership with Sony.
Six gamers, in their racing pods, tackled the virtual Top Gear Test Track, while former F1 driver David Coulthard ripped up the real thing. The Flying Scotsman was the winner, but the result couldn’t have been any closer.
The event received the full F1 treatment; Jonathan Legard presented from Mercedes Benz World in Brooklands, where the contestants were set up. Martin Brundle meanwhile covered the events from the Dunsfold Aerodrome, where DC reminded everyone why he had such a long and successful F1 career.
All the variables were matched as closely as possible: they all had 15 minutes to land their fastest time, and they all drove a red Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. However, despite the best efforts of the organisers to minimise all variables, no one could control the weather, which came close to ruining DC’s chances.
It was dry when he started but rain was forcasted. His only hope was to get his fast lap in early, and that’s exactly what he did. He came out flying and posted an incredible lap of 1:16.32 — a time neither he or his opponents would beat.
James Birt came agonisingly close with 1:16.56. He desperately tried to shade off those milliseconds, and there was a tense moment during his penultimate lap when it looked possible, but Birt pushed too hard and went spiraling off the track.
Birt was delighted by his showing, and we can hardly blame him, considering his efforts have earned him a trip to the Brazilian Gran Prix. In third and fourth places were Rob Woodhouse (1:17.53) and Andy Sawley (1:17.88).
Birt, Woodhouse and Sawley took to the podium after the race to be presented as winners. They were the winners, but only in the virtual world. They put in great performances but the true winner was DC.
DC flew in via helicopter alongside his BBC colleague Brundle. As he stood on the podium, he looked genuinely delighted to be there. He flew the flag for reality and came out on top thanks to an outstanding performance.
There was only half a second difference though, and that level of competitiveness is sure to please developer Polyphony Digital. It offers further proof that Gran Turismo 5 really is the real driving simulator.