Newsflash: Even GT4 Isn’t Realistic

Tonight’s edition of Top Gear (possibly the best show on television, and I’m not even interested in cars) had an interesting games-related item which seems like an obvious idea but I’d never seen done. Jeremy Clarkson is something of a luddite when it comes to anything that doesn’t have an engine, so he drove a lap of Laguna Seca in a Honda NSX on Gran Turismo 4, achieving a lap time of 1:41, and then tried the same car on the real track incarnate to see how he did.

To be honest I’m not all that surprised that he found it was nothing like the game because anyone who’s ever driven a car knows that it’s completely different to getting behind the virtual wheel, but after several attempts and with the help of the track instructor on the real thing he could only manage a time of 1:59. Trying some of the driving techniques easily possible in the game left him leaving the track or spinning out, and braking in the way that you can to get around the infamous Corkscrew gave him nothing but the strong smell of burning brakes.

Just goes to show that for all the flapping that goes on about tracks with satellite imaging and thousands of hours spent test-driving various cars, a game still can’t accurately simulate the experience. If an experienced driver can drive a lap in the game in 1:41 on their first attempt but is 19 seconds slower in real life when they spend a day racing the track you can tell that something isn’t right.

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