DualShock4 controls Nissan GT-R/C around Silverstone

By JAY WONG | 11 October 2017

LONDON: Nissan has modified one its GT-R sportscars so that it can be controlled by a Sony Playstation DualShock4 controller around the Silverstone race track.

The feat was done to celebrate the upcoming launch of the Gran Turismo Sport game that's due out in Europe on Oct 18, while marking 20 years of Nissan's involvement in the Gran Turismo gaming series.

The remote-controlled vehicle, dubbed the GT-R/C is capable of reaching a top speed of 315kph – not restricted for the purpose of the project car – with no one sitting behind the wheel.

It was put through its paces by NISMO racing driver Jann Mardenborough around Silverstone from the cockpit of a Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter, which had been given special permission to operate at a low altitude around the track.

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Jann is one of the most successful winners of the GT Academy, which is Nissan’s revolutionary driver discovery and development programme, and was subsequently approached to be the first driver of the car thanks to his skills in both the Gran Turismo game and real-life motorsport.

The GT-R/C was engineered in the United Kingdom by JLB Design, using a standard-spec 542bhp V6-powered 2011 R35 – the same year Jann won in the GT Academy.

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His fastest lap was 1min 17.47 seconds and averaged 122kph with a top speed of 131mph/211kph around the track – the average speed around the 2.6km track is 134kph.

Four robots were used to operate the steering, transmission, brakes and throttle, while six computers housed within the boot updates the controls at up to 100 times per second and the steering position is measured to one part in 65,000.

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The unmodified DualShock4 has a 1km wireless operation range and connects to a microcomputer which interprets the joystick and button signals and transmits them to the car's on-board systems.

To help Jann judge the vehicle’s speed through the corners, a Racelogic VBOX Motorsport sensor was installed to relay speed data to a LCD display in the helicopter cockpit.

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The car is also fitted with two independent safety systems, operating on different radio frequencies, which allow two additional operators to apply full ABS braking and cut the engine in the event of the main operator losing control of the vehicle.

Next year, the car will be go on tour to primary and secondary schools in the UK to promote future careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects.

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