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Gran Turismo Gamer Becomes Pro Race Driver 249

Posted by samzenpus
from the practice-makes-profession dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Back in 2008, Lucas Ordonez lived what seemed like an ordinary existence. The 22-year-old Spanish student was an avid motorsports fan, but he lacked the suitable investment necessary to become a professional race driver and had virtually given up on racing. Besides, he was already knee-deep in trying to complete a Master of Business Administration (MBA). But it was Ordonez' passion for virtual racing, particularly his love of Gran Turismo, that made him stand out from his peers — both off the track and eventually on it. In just a few months, Ordonez' life was transformed from console dreamer to racing the real thing at a real race track in Europe. And Ordonez managed to do the unthinkable: go from the couch car to the race car, and win."


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Gran Turismo Gamer Becomes Pro Race Driver

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  • by Drethon (1445051) on Friday December 04, 2009 @01:23PM (#30326602)
    Like you hear sometimes from NASCAR, I worked on the race car of a guy who uses Papyrus Nascar Racing 2003 to practice running at Berlin Raceway. He says the ARCA (or was it ASA?) mod cars have a very similar feel to driving a Sportsman at the track.

    Wouldn't want to jump straigt into a racecar after driving games in arcade mode though...
  • It's different (Score:5, Insightful)

    by realmolo (574068) on Friday December 04, 2009 @01:24PM (#30326612)

    Driving a car in a videogame and driving a car in real life are very different, but the actual *racing* part is pretty similar. Controlling the car is important, but it's not what wins races. Racing is all about knowing the lines and racing techniques, and a video game can definitely teach you that.

  • Re:Hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04, 2009 @01:40PM (#30326838)

    That's not true. There are plenty of male stars in porn who have average-sized wangs. The important thing for the male star is to be able to get an erection at the right time, keep it, and be able to ejaculate at the proper time. You can have a 12 inch wang, but if you can't perform when you're required to you aren't going to last long.

  • by sarahbau (692647) on Friday December 04, 2009 @01:40PM (#30326842)

    [citation needed]

    I call BS. Just because you don't die when you crash in a video game, it doesn't mean someone who started out in a driving simulator would't know the risks of crashing. Also, to get the best lap times in Gran Turismo, as in real driving, you can't drive too aggressively and slide off the road, bump rails, etc. Even if he had no fear of injury (which I think is a stupid assumption), he'd be avoiding wrecks to get the best time anyway.

  • Re:It's different (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Friday December 04, 2009 @01:45PM (#30326914) Journal

    Racing is all about knowing the lines and racing techniques, and a video game can definitely teach you that.

    Actual F1 teams train their drivers using simulators. [] Basically a very expensive version of Gran Turismo.

  • by Synn (6288) on Friday December 04, 2009 @01:47PM (#30326946)

    The brain knows the difference. I've met quite a few people that have done tandem skydives and felt fine, but froze up scared when they did their first non-tandem skydive where they knew they'd have to deal with everything themselves.

  • by dzfoo (772245) on Friday December 04, 2009 @01:48PM (#30326958)

    >> but he lacked the suitable investment necessary to become a professional race driver and had virtually given up on racing

    Actually, it seems that he had physically given up, and virtually taken up racing.


  • Re:Oh God (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stewbacca (1033764) on Friday December 04, 2009 @01:50PM (#30326986)

    No they don't. I develop Army training, and most of the stories you hear about soldiers playing video games for training are exactly that...stories.

  • Re:It's different (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frosty_tsm (933163) on Friday December 04, 2009 @02:00PM (#30327160)

    More importantly, racing is about car control. A mass-marketed sim like Grand Turismo does not approach the levels of realism required to be an adequate sim for learning this.

    I think you underestimate the realism of the GT series. While the abstract some of the car characteristics, they do depict the handling of the cars pretty well.

    While not a proof, one of the parts shops hosted a GT tournament for the local autox people. The racers were able to apply what they learned while pushing their cars to the limit back to the video game. I had thought I was good, and then I saw what the others could do.

  • Re:It's different (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hardburn (141468) <hardburn&wumpus-cave,net> on Friday December 04, 2009 @02:07PM (#30327262)

    In many ways, the parts lacking in realism make the game harder then real life. Standard gamepad controllers don't have nearly the range of motion of an actual wheel, and smoothly applying acceleration through a corner is almost impossible. While that much can be fixed by buying a good racing wheel and pedal setup, there are more fundamental limitations, too. It important to be able to feel how the car responds via g-forces, and until somebody invents artificial gravity, it's simply impossible to simulate this except through very crude methods. The effect becomes more dramatic as the car's performance goes up. Shutting off one of your senses is bound to have an affect.

    On the plus side for games (that is, things that increase your times over the real world), the simulation will remove any fear you might have from smashing into a wall. This is probably the main reason why game times tend to be higher than real world times around the same track.

    The best way to think about Gran Turismo compared to real racing is to consider a similar but different type of racing, much like difference between a track day car and a go kart. Go karts need many of the same skills, but they're not exactly alike. That hasn't stopped F1 teams from recruiting promising young go kart drivers before they're even old enough to have a license. The differences can be smoothed out later with training.

  • by DeadDecoy (877617) on Friday December 04, 2009 @02:27PM (#30327500)
    That's debatable. The problem with tanks is that they're giant moving targets. I once had a history teacher in 'nam who would talk about the perks and perils of being in a tank. On the plus side, you get AC on hot days and a CD player to listen to music. On the negative side, once you're in combat, people are firing anti-armor explosives at your ass, such that the tank becomes an instant-coffin. The baddies in the US's current war probably do not have the sophistication in chemistry to develop the right kinds of explosives to crack armor, like a full-fledged nation. However, I bet tanker's experience a similar level of danger as the foot soldiers, just that they have rockets whizzing over their head instead of bullets.
  • Me too!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by meta-monkey (321000) on Friday December 04, 2009 @02:31PM (#30327562) Journal
    This totally reminds me of the time I was recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan armada!
  • Hold on... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cf18 (943501) on Friday December 04, 2009 @02:56PM (#30327908)
    Would this also give some ammo to folks who link criminals to violence games?
  • Re:It's different (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MikeBabcock (65886) <> on Friday December 04, 2009 @03:29PM (#30328362) Homepage Journal

    What I find more interesting is when one real life race car driver beat all the best GT5 players at a mini tournament playing the game. He knew how to drive well, and that translated properly to the game.

    Watch Tanner Faust [] explain how to drift in the game based on his real-world driving experience on Youtube if you like.

  • Re:It's different (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04, 2009 @03:37PM (#30328492)

    Driving fast is easy just put your foot to the floor.
    Driving fast and well is another matter.

  • Re:Oh God (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Stupid McStupidson (1660141) on Friday December 04, 2009 @05:25PM (#30329938)

    ..they have more stress than guys on the ground, 24/7 engaged.

    What a hellish life full of without risk conduct your mission, and then go home to your family at the end of your shift. And all those fucking slackers actually under real fire and threat think they got it rough!

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