Dean Gibson writes, Gran Turismo is one of the biggest video game franchises in the world, having sold more than 53 million copies worldwide since the first game was released on the Sony PlayStation in 1997. But the series has gone beyond the realms of the gaming world, and Gran Turismo's creator, Kazunori Yamauchi, has become involved in projects with real-world car manufacturers.
From the centre console display on the Nissan GT-R, to Toyota's forthcoming data logging system, and even the GTbyCitroen concept car, Kazunori and Gran Turismo's influence is firmly felt in the motoring mainstream.
Another avenue being explored by Gran Turismo is the concept of turning a computer gamer into a fully-fledged racing driver. The GT Academy by Nissan found its first star last year with Spaniard Lucas Ordonez, and now the contest is in its final week to find this year's winner. The final two, Luca Lorenzini from Italy and Jordan Tresson from France, are competing for a seat in a Nissan 370Z run by RJN Motorsport, and will take part in the European GT4 Cup, which starts on 2 May at Silverstone.
Both drivers were competing in the Britcar championship at Snetterton, Norfolk, as part of their training, and Kazunori was there to check them out. We caught up with the Gran Turismo creator for a quick chat.