• ETC
  • Apr 18, 2014
The path to become a racing driver is a difficult one. It requires starting early, with karts, and then building up through the years and if you're really, really good (and really, really lucky), a team will notice you and sign you up. Or, you know, you could just become really good at Gran Turismo, and beat out other like-minded fanatics for a seat in the GT Academy.

The racing school, which culls its students from the ranks of Gran Turismo players has already pumped out successful racers, most notably, Lucas Ordoñez, who has a second and third-place finish under his belt at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With the 2014 GT Academy kicking off April 21 and running through June 16, you could have a chance to be the next Ordoñez.

That won't be easy, though. We recently had a playthrough on GT6 the proper way - with a racing seat, pedals and a steering wheel, complete with column-mounted paddles. (Our setup looked just like the one you see above, though that image is from E3.) In other words, it was as close to driving an actual car as most console games can get.

During the 2014 New York Auto Show festivities, we took part in a tournament put on by Toyota that pitted this humble Autoblog scribe against some writers from other publications. Using a full driving setup, we raced around Fuji Speedway in Toyota's 2014 Detroit Auto Show concept, the FT-1. It didn't go too well.

After practicing at home, the best we could manage was a 1:47. In the NYC hot seat, though, our times improved rapidly. Initial practice laps started at 1:45 and dropped steadily, until we belted out a fast time of 1:37.295, which put Autoblog in the lead. It was a brief triumph, though. A friend from Cars.com bested us by a few tenths of a second, turning in a high 1:36, before we were royally whopped by a hot shoe from Popular Mechanics, who delivered a time in the 1:35s.

Looks like we won't be winning the GT Academy any time soon. That said, the improvement provided by a good wheel-and-pedal setup is enough to make us believers. It's a sound investment if you're looking to experience your favorite racing games a new way and a must-have if you're thinking about tackling the 2014 GT Academy.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      J
      • 8 Months Ago
      Gran Turismo? Grab a good wheel setup and join iRacing, and get back to me.
      Josh
      • 8 Months Ago
      For extra fun try GT6 online multiplayer style - that's all aids OFF (no TTAC control) and only 1 degree of ABS allowed. You'll know what throttle control is when you can't even keep the car straight. :)
        Rotation
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Josh
        That's how I drive all the time. I gotta get the ABS 1 turned off too at some point. I drove most of Forza 4 with all aids including ABS off (not clutch mode though, it's not programmed correctly). I use a Logitech G25. I have a Fanatec wheel too, but the G25 is a lot better.
          djpatrick35
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Rotation
          Really? I love my Fanatec CSR setup. I'm waiting for an H-gate shifter to come out for the Thrustmaster TX before I upgrade my setup to the XBOX One.
      ksrcm
      • 8 Months Ago
      "That said, the improvement provided by a good wheel-and-pedal setup is enough to make us believers. It's a sound investment if you're looking to experience your favorite racing games a new way and a must-have if you're thinking about tackling the 2014 GT Academy." So ... it started with Z,X, N, M keys on a keyboard, to morph into joystick and keyboard, to evolve into Playstation controller to now wheel-and-pedals setup. Good progression. In couple of years we can hope they will learn that the best driving simulator is Porsche Cayman. If you want to learn how to drive that is ...
      johnnythemoney
      • 8 Months Ago
      Sound investment?! A setup like one of those easily costs more than the new PS4 or Xbox One, plus the game, not so easy to justify for basically just one game. Plus, not everyone can dedicate a room to it. Sure, if I had the money (a lot), the room, and the time to extensively play again, why not.
        Bassracerx
        • 8 Months Ago
        @johnnythemoney
        as a PC gamer of first person shooters having a $150 keyboard, a $120 mouse, $120 headset, $60 mousepad and some other various accessories/peripherals is basically considered a "mid range" setup so 300-500 for a decent steering wheel/pedal setup is not really that big a deal if you are dedicated to playing racing sims as a hobby.
          Lachmund
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Bassracerx
          the keyword is choice
          Rampant
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Bassracerx
          Ironic words to hear when the only drum the self identified PC 'master race' beats on is how scale-ability makes PC cheaper in every way.