Celebrating the release of Gran Turismo Sport and marking 20 years of Nissan involvement in the Gran Turismo gaming series, the one-off project car was extensively modified to be driven entirely by a DualShock4 gaming controller.
The GT-R /C was engineered in the UK by JLB Design Ltd., using a standard-spec 542bhp V6-powered 2011 R35. It is fitted with four robots that operate the steering, transmission, brakes and throttle, while six computers mounted in the boot update the controls at up to 100 times a second.
The unmodified DualShock4 connects to a micro-computer that interprets the joystick and button signals and transmits them to the GT-R /C’s on-board systems. The wireless operation has a primary control range of one kilometre.
The GT-R /C is also fitted with two independent safety systems, operating on different radio frequencies, which allow two additional operators to apply full ABS braking and cut the engine in the event of the main operator losing control of the vehicle.
The GT-R /C was put through its paces by NISMO racing driver Jann Mardenborough, around Silverstone’s famous National Circuit. The remote-control vehicle is capable of a top speed of 196mph – not restricted for the purpose of the project car – with no one sitting behind the wheel.
On Mardenborough’s fastest lap (1:17:47), the GT-R /C averaged 76mph/122kph and reached a top speed of 131mph/211kph – the ‘driven’ average for the 1.6mile/2.6km loop circuit is around 83mph/134kph.
Explains James Brighton of JLB Design Ltd: “The GT-R /C presented some unique challenges and a number of engineering firsts for us. We had to ensure the robotics would operate effectively during fast acceleration/deceleration as well as high cornering g-forces; deliver realistic and reassuring control of the car at all speeds; and maintain a robust connection between the car and the DualShock4 over variable distances and with minimal latency in robot response times.
“I’m delighted to say all these challenges were overcome but it’s testament to Jann’s unique skillset that he was able to master the vehicle’s operation in a very short period of time whilst delivering some truly impressive lap times.”
The Nissan GT-R /C will be used in a tour of primary and secondary schools in the UK during 2018 to promote future careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects.