Gran Turismo Sport today gets the latest of its regular updates, and it’s a bit of a special one.
There’s a new track in the form of Autopolis – a slightly leftfield inclusion, perhaps, the fairly modern Japanese track does at least provide a serious challenge in its two available configurations, and it provides the backdrop for two series dear to Gran Turismo’s heart.
First there’s the Super GTs that are well-represented in Gran Turismo Sport’s current line-up, and then there are the Super Formula cars that we now know are coming later this spring. Given how the series has been a proving ground for F1 talent – Pierre Gasly graduated from the series while Red Bull hopeful Dan Tictum is earning his stripes there this season – as well as a showcase for established Japanese names such as Kamui Kobayashi and Kazuki Nakajima, it should be a popular addition.
In terms of cars we get the 2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, the 2013 Pagani Huayra (bless you) and the darling of the moment, this year’s all-new BMW Supra. The highlights, though, are the humble but wonderful Mk1 Mazda MX5 (the real-life ride of discerning Eurogamer editor Oli Welsh, who’s delighted at the news) and the 1995 McLaren F1 GTR as entered in that year’s edition of Le Mans by Kokusai Kaihatsu UK Racing.
And why is that car special? Well, first it’s a masterpiece penned by Gordon Murray, and then there’s the fact it triumphed in one of the most spectacular runnings of Le Mans, with the GT cars trumping the more fancied prototypes with JJ Lehto’s night running in the rain proving decisive for the number 59 car.
The real reason it’s so great though? Its sponsor was none other than the Tokyo Ueno Clinic, a Japanese plastic surgery outlet that specialised in – how do I put this? – gentlemen’s embellishments. I got to see this very special McLaren F1 up close during a tour of the stately McLaren Technology Centre last year, and couldn’t help screaming out ‘penis car!’ in excitement when I spotted it. I’m not sure my guide was overly impressed.