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After 20 Years of Absence From Gran Turismo, Porsche Is Now All in

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It’s been a while since we had a Vision Gran Turismo concept, but they are back. And how. This is the first model from Porsche to add to its generous collection.

Those of us of a certain age will remember picking up the very first Gran Turismo in 1997, carefully sliding the disc under the grey flap of our PlayStation 1 and then excitedly examining the many and numerous cars on offer to find… no Porsches to be found. Instead, a couple of strangely familiar-looking things that went by the name of ‘Ruf’.

Yes, for years, Porsche did not officially supply its cars to the franchise due to an exclusivity agreement with Need for Speed, which has only changed in the last five years. Since 2017, Porsche cars can be found on GT and now, to cement the friendship, comes the concept Porsche Vision GT.

“I do not think anyone got fired over this decision,” jokes Deniz Keskin, Porsche’s head of brands and partnerships, before telling TG that this is “the first Porsche explicitly designed for a computer game”.

It’s fully electric, as you might expect, and it took over two years to develop. We were told that the design is as pure as possible, without any visual heaviness and with a stature reminiscent of the 356 and 550 sports cars.

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“When we looked at some Vision GT cars from other companies in the past, we saw that some of them were huge,” says exterior designer Ingo Bauer-Scheinhuette, “uber-hypercars that looked more like fighter planes and less like cars.

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“The Germans are a serious bunch, and we also take car design seriously. So we decided to design something that feels real and that you can imagine seeing on the road in a few years.”

It’s designed to look like a mid-engine, suggesting perfect weight distribution. We know the lush wings from the Caymans and 911s have been carried over, but the headlights are no longer visible at the front.

Instead, they are slim, “jewel-like” units mounted further down the car – in the virtual world, this means there are no pesky road or racing regulations to comply with regarding the height of the headlights – resulting not only in a unique new look but also the opportunity to exploit new aerodynamic possibilities. Just look at how much air can flow between the headlights and wheel arches and along the flanks of the Vision GT. Fake, pixelated air, I mean.

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“The appeal of a Porsche is its purist design,” says Kazunori Yamauchi of GT. “And in terms of technical know-how, Porsche and we share the same perfectionist philosophy, and we share the same passion for racing and look to the future of the car.”

Porsche says its Vision GT gives a glimpse of what electric racing cars could look like in ten years, which means it steps on the toes of the Mission R concept a little. But a month that gives us two different Porsche EV race cars is pretty good, we’d say.

And the virtual world has opened up more possibilities here. There are no doors, just a bonnet that folds forward vertically. Perhaps this is a vision GT, which does remind us a little of a jet fighter.

Inside, there are no seats, but Race-Tex leatherette upholstery glued to the chassis, with pedals that slide forward and back. The steering wheel seems to be a mix of analogue and digital controls – strange for a car designed exclusively for the digital world, but what the heck – and the instruments are holograms. Something Porsche could not justify in actual, physical vehicles.

The entire Vision GT is a “No Limits Apply” scrapbook. There is a long overdue appearance of the split active rear wing that Porsche developed for the 917 before the rules banned it. The soft top can be operated by fingerprint. The ‘floating headrests’ adjust whether you wear a helmet or not. Porsche’s designers live out their fantasies, usually curtailed by the legislator or the finance department.

But will any of it go into production? “There’s no connection to a road car – it’s purely for Gran Turismo,” says Ingo. “Of course, there will always be design elements that you will see in future cars. We do concept cars to inspire ourselves, try new things and develop our design language.”

You’ll be able to drive the Porsche Vision GT in March 2022 when Gran Turismo 7 is released on PlayStations 4 and 5. But what parts would you most like to see in production now?

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