Remotes can be used for many things: changing the TV channel, playing video games, and controlling an RC auto.
And race ace Jann Mardenborough took to the joystick to show off the prototype around Silverstone - created to mark the release of the new Gran Turismo Sport video game. It's not a virtual auto for the game, but rather a real-life GT-R that can hit 131 miles per hour on the Silverstone Circuit while being driven by a Playstation controller.
GT Academy victor and NISMO driver Jann Mardenborough was the lucky rascal charged with manoeuvring the thing, and he did so from the cockpit of a helicopter to make it all the cooler. On his fasted lap with the GT-R/C, he clocked a time of 1 minute, 17.47 seconds, which is impressive considering that the Silverstone single-lap record of 1 minute, 30.621 seconds was set by a fully race-prepped F1 vehicle. He controlled the vehicle from a helicopter that followed the racecar around the track. The auto has four systems that control the steering, transmission, brakes and throttle, updating the controls up to 100 times per second.
"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 auto at all speeds, and maintain a robust connection between the vehicle and the DualShock over variable distances and with minimal latency in robot response times".
The controller itself is hooked up to a micro-computer that interprets the joystick and button signals, transmitting them to the GT-R /C's onboard systems. "Driving a full-size, remote-control GT-R to 131mph at Silverstone whilst chasing it down in a helicopter was an unforgettable experience". A Racelogic VBox Motorsport sensor relays speed data to the "remote" driver. "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", said Mardenborough. Driving a full-size, remote-control GT-R to 131 miles per hour at Silverstone whilst chasing it down in a helicopter was an unforgettable experience. Mardenborough became a racecar driver after winning the GT Academy program, which gives virtual racers the chance to compete for a spot as a real-world racing driver.
The GT-R/C will tour primary and secondary schools in an effort to promote careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.