Nissan builds life-size RC sports auto that uses PS4 controller

Isaac Cain
October 12, 2017

Remotes can be used for many things: changing the TV channel, playing video games, and controlling an RC vehicle.

Nissan also runs the GT Academy race series that brings console racing drivers into the real world - Aussie racer Matt Simmons, who is now running in the 2017 Blancpain GT Endurance series, got his start by winning the worldwide 2015 GT Academy. In other words, Mardenborough has plenty of experience piloting a GT-R with a PlayStation controller, though until now it was always with a virtual version of the auto, instead of the real thing.

The GT-R /C was put through its paces by NISMO athlete and GT Academy victor Jann Mardenborough around Silverstone's famous National Circuit.

A Nissan GT-R operated by a PlayStation DualShock 4 controller hit 200kph as it lapped the Silverstone circuit in England, to help the Japanese carmaker celebrate 20 years in the Gran Turismo games series. Robots inside the vehicle controlled steering, transmission, throttle, and brakes.

Mardenborough controlled the GT-R/C from this Robinson R44 helicopter.

The one-off Nissan GT-R/C - with a top speed of 196mph - can be controlled by just a PlayStation 4 gamepad. Six computers also connected everything together and were able to make adjustments up to 100 times per second.

Mardenborough threw down a fastest flying lap of 1:17.47, reaching an average speed of 76 miles per hour and a top speed of 131 miles per hour.

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That micro-computer is responsible for interpreting the joystick and button signals and transmitting those signals to the car's onboard systems.

The stunt was to promote the upcoming release of Gran Turismo Sport for PS4, but the auto will also tour primary and secondary schools across the United Kingdom next year to promote careers in STEM subjects. A Racelogic VBox Motorsport sensor relays speed data to the "remote" driver.

Jann said: "This was once-in-a-lifetime, truly epic stuff".

Dubbed the GT-R/C (R/C for "remote control"), the vehicle was actually a modified 2011 model with a top speed of 196 miles per hour. 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.

Nissan will also use the auto in a tour of primary and secondary schools in the United Kingdom next year to promote future careers in STEM.

James Brighton, JLB Design Ltd, added: "The GT-R /C presented some unique challenges and a number of engineering firsts for us".

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