If you’ve ever wondered how easy it would be to control a real car with a PlayStation controller, the answer is here.
Then, since he wasn’t going to be running laps from inside the car, he jumped into a helicopter so he could keep track of the car as it ran the 2.6km loop.
The project was born out of the upcoming release of Gran Turismo Sport, the next instalment in a series that kick-started Jann Mardenborough’s career with NISMO.
The fastest time Mardenborough achieved around Silverstone’s shorter National Circuit was a 1:17, which wouldn’t be too impressive if he was actually in the car.
For context, the video below is a Caterham running a 1:09.
But considering it’s not easy to make precise movements with a regular remote control car at the best of times, controlling a 357kW, 1740kg+ GT-R from a moving helicopter is impressive.
The car was a standard 2011 R35 GT-R which was modified by JLB Design in the UK and renamed the GT-R/C.
It was fitted with robotic arms to control the steering, transmission, accelerator, and brakes, while six computers in the boot updated the controls up to 100 times a second.
Director of JLD Design James Brighton said building the remote control GT-R/C was a challenge for many reasons.
“We had to ensure the robotics would operate effectively during fast acceleration and 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 DualShock 4 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.”
Mardenborough, who made his way to be a pro racer via the Gran Turismo GT Academy, said driving the car was a strange mix of the two worlds he belongs to.
“This was once-in-a-lifetime, truly epic stuff. The GT-R /C has brought my two worlds together – the virtual of gaming and the reality of motorsport – in a way I never thought possible.
“The response from the car when using the controller was far more engaging than I thought it would be. JLB Design has done an incredible job at making everything respond really well.”