McLaren's Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo puts gamers on their guts
McLaren has based its road-car brand around a forward-looking carbon construction, but even the meanest, maddest models are constrained by the fact they need to work on real roads and racetracks. That isn't a problem in the PlayStation world of Gran Turismo. The Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo is a look at what McLaren sees as the future of sports cars, coupled with the kind of blue-sky thinking you can only enjoy in the video game world.
Although it's been designed as a video game-only showstopper, McLaren says every part of the Vision Gran Turismo has still been conceived with function in mind. The cabin has a big, airy glasshouse for clear sight lines in every direction, while the driver doesn't sit in a regular seat. Instead, they lie on their front in the middle of the car – and you thought the central seat in the McLaren F1 was strange.
According to McLaren, the decision to "shrink wrap" the cabin around a driver lying face-first will allow gamers to hit apexes more precisely. "The amazing glass cockpit and the motorcycle-like driving position – with your head far forward, almost right above the front axle – combine to allow you to see exactly where the apex of the corner is so you can shave vital milliseconds off each lap," says Rob Melville, design director, McLaren Automotive.
Power is provided by a hybrid powertrain, made up of a four-liter turbocharged V8 engine hooked up to the rear wheels, and a pair of electric motors on the front wheels. Total system output is a whopping 1,134 hp (846 kW) of power and 1,275 Nm (940 lb-ft) of torque, all of which is available from standstill. Hang onto your controllers kids, this thing will be fast. McLaren also says it should sound good, both inside and outside the cabin.
To make sure all that power doesn't turn the Vision from virtual car into a virtual aircraft, the exterior has been designed with something called Integrated Active Aero. Small openings on key surfaces around the body open when the car is cornering in an attempt to generate downforce on demand. McLaren says the fact it doesn't involve moving parts helps save weight. Speaking of weight savings, the inboard-mounted carbon-ceramic brakes also cut down on unsprung mass.
"For me, a car needs to be an extension of the driver; I am focused not just on the appearance, but on the handling, the sound of the engine, and the feeling you get when you are racing," says Kazunori Yamauchi, Gran Turismo creator. "So, it was an honor to work with McLaren to bring the Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo to life, and to put such a car on the circuits of Gran Turismo Sport for players to enjoy driving at the limit."
The Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo will be available in Gran Turismo Sport, which lands on PlayStation 4 in October.