It’s a scorching day. You’re hammering down the Fuji Speedway International Course, neck and neck with yourself in your Toyota GT86. Nope, it’s not that slightly uncomfortable dream you keep having, nor is it an especially vivid acid trip – it’s just the latest technology on offer from Japanese giants Toyota and Sony.
You see, one of the best things about Gran Turismo for many of us is the fact that you’re controlling (and crashing) real cars, cars which any one of us could – theoretically – own or drive some day, if we won the lotto or never had any bills to pay. Unfortunately, if your broadband isn’t great (read: quite a lot of Ireland), your competitors don’t really exist, and the thrill of beating virtual opponents doesn’t always last for terribly long.
A telementary recording device has recently been launched for owners of Toyota’s GT86 who also happen to own a copy of the latest Gran Turismo. Put in plain English, GT86 drivers will be able to race themselves in the game – the system records data on acceleration, braking, steering angles, gear shifting and engine and vehicle speed, recorded on a USB which can be uploaded to your PS3 system. For the budding racing enthusiast, it’s actually a great way to see how you drive, allowing you to improve your technique. Sports Drive Logger, as it’s called, will be put on sale at ¥91,800 (€652), which does seem a little steep, considering you could buy the newer PS4 for less.
Having been one of the lucky ones to test drive the GT86 on release, there’s no doubt it’s the perfect car for the job – fast, fun and made for the track. Unfortunately – for now at least – drivers outside of Japan without access to certain tracks in that country will be unable to take advantage of this nifty little device, which is just a tad restrictive for everyone else. There’s no word yet of a US or European version and the Fuji Speedway International Course, Tsukuba Circuit 2000 Course and the Suzuka Circuit International Course are the first courses which are supported so far, though more should be added later.
For now, racers on each of the three courses can return home and race themselves or their friends, replaying their track-day exploits over and over in the comfort of their own home. Hopefully they didn’t crash.