Kazunori Yamauchi took a break from working on Gran Turismo 6 to check out the latest vehicles at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) trade show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The head of Polyphony Digital was also in Sin City to choose the next car that will be playable in GT5 as a downloadable vehicle. At the 9th Annual GT Awards,Yamauchi awarded “Best Hot Rod" winner Mary Pozzi’s 1973 custom red Chevrolet Camaro “Best in Show”. Next year, gamers will be able to get behind the wheel of this extremely fast vehicle and take it on any course.
“Once we pick the ultimate winner, it’s all the same from there in terms of the modeling process,” said Taku Imasaki, producer of Gran Turismo 5. “We treat it like any other car we put into the game. We flight out to wherever the car is and we send out a dozen engineers from our team. We take thousands of photos, sit inside the car, and take all the interior shots. We even fly a sound engineer out to record the engine noises. We take all that data back to our offices in Tokyo, and they spend six months creating that particular car. There’s a lot of love and passion put into building a car, as you know, like in all Gran Turismo cars.”
For those who have never been to SEMA, there are literally thousands of vehicles parked inside the mammoth convention center and everywhere outside. A group of judges from outlets like Road & Track, Motor Trend Magazine and CNET scour these vehicles and pick the top ones in five categories. Then Yamauchi spends hours checking out every detail of the finalists to pick the car that will go virtual.
“The cars that win the GT Awards each year are chosen because they represent what the trends are in car culture in North America,” said Yamauchi. “So by including that car, we actually take in the trend that the car is representing into Gran Turismo. It shows the history of the transition over the years.”
The GT Awards as an event has also grown over the years. Stone Temple Pilots took the stage after the winners were handed their custom etched PlayStation 3 consoles at the Cosmopolitan Hotel’s trendy Marquee night club. Throughout the club, PS3 driving simulators were set up, allowing attendees to sit down and drive GT5 in stereoscopic 3D. GT5 was one of Sony’s first big 3D games last year.