Watch How A Gran Turismo Sport Lap of Laguna Seca Compares To Real Life

Illustration for article titled Watch How A Gran Turismo Sport Lap of Laguna Seca Compares To Real Life
Screenshot: Will L. YouTube

If you’re a fan of modern-day racing simulations, you’ll have probably noticed that it gets harder and harder to tell real life from fantasy with each update that accompanies the systems. And that’s nowhere more evident than it is in this clip that compares a real-life lap at Laguna Seca to a lap on Gran Turismo Sport.

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You can watch the clip from Will L. below, but I will say: simulated racing conditions are getting closer to the real thing every single day.

Will took out a Mk 7 Volkswagen GTI to compare a lap from Gran Turismo Sport to real life. The GTI comes outfitted with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine that makes 228 horsepower and comes with a standard manual gearbox. The VWs in the clip looks to have added the optional dual-clutch automatic, however. Both cars have been set up as similarly as possible for the purposes of the experiment.

I think the first thing everyone notices here are the visuals. GT Sport just looks good. The graphics are crisp and smooth, and the scan of the track is about as close a rendering to the real-life Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca that you can find. That’s part of the huge draw for these sim racing games; you can look and feel like you’re really doing the thing without having to leave your couch.

The biggest differences here come in the form of car dynamics, which haven’t really been replicated in a true-to-life fashion. For example, the virtual GTI has so much understeer. You have to really want to throw it into the corner—where it also seems to magically find some grip in situations where you might otherwise be losing control. The driving lines are the same, but the virtual GTI is still very much a simulation.

And that also means you’re simulating confidence behind the wheel, too. I don’t know about you, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to make ballsy moves in a video game because there aren’t real-life consequences. If I crash in GT Sport, I can reset the car and try again. If I crash in real life, I’m out a lot of money and may possibly even be injured. It takes a lifetime of skill to develop the kind of confidence that leaves you knowing your limits through a certain corner, and it’s something best developed via the actual feel of the car on the race track as opposed to a simulation.

Because of that, Will was one second slower in real life than he was on GT Sport, a 1:45 lap compared to a 1:44. It may not be a massively true-to-life experience, but racing simulations are getting closer and closer every day.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

DISCUSSION

shanemorris
Shane Morris

I think the other reason people are faster in simulators is simple: Driving fast is tiring, especially if you’re in a car without a proper racing seat. I remember my first autocross day in my Mazda 323GTX — it was a hoot, for sure. It wasn’t “fast” in the way that you’d consider a modern car to be fast, but the lateral forces, even in a 90s hot hatch? They wear you out.

The next day I felt like I had done like 1,000 sit-ups from having to hold my core while I tossed the car through the cones.