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From the cradle to the game
Submitted by SuperUser on Thursday, March 22, 2001 - 12:00am

Rotarynews.com reader and supporter from the UK Glenn Butcher sent in this story from the Sydney Morning Herald. It is an interesting read about how the RX-8 is included in the latest version of Gran Turismo. Mazda was deeply involved with the development of the RX-8 car in the game.

Kids will be able to drive new cars before their parents now that car makers and computer companies have joined forces. Drive's Japanese correspondent, Peter Lyon, explains.
I've driven the radical Mazda RX-8 and can tell you it's unbelievable. One of the stars of last week's Detroit motor show, the petite four-door sports car is quick, has precise steering and excellent grip.
The gearchange could be better, but I shouldn't complain - after all, I have driven the car 18 months before it goes on sale. On Sony's latest PlayStation game, that is.
At the Detroit motor show last week, Mazda and Sony had a special display with the latest Gran Turismo 3, featuring the RX-8.
But why has Mazda allowed Sony such unprecedented access to a car that is such a long way from production? In the highly secretive car world, exactly who convinced who to join forces?
The answer is: the feelings were mutual. And we can expect more of it as car makers groom younger buyers.
In Japan, they call it a "three-way win". Mazda gains prestige and massive exposure to a younger, global audience, Sony has an up-to-date model long after the game is released and the game enthusiasts get to drive a car before it hits the streets.
As Drive has documented, Sony PlayStation driving simulators appeal both to the young - and the young at heart.
Indeed, the president of Mazda, Mark Fields, is a self-confessed driving simulator junky and is also pushing the advancement of the company's internet and digital business.
To allow Sony to configure the RX-8 into its new GT3, Mazda supplied exterior styling details and specifications (including engine power and suspension ratings) more than a year ago, long before the car was unveiled or details were made public.
Late last year Sony Playstation engineers visited Mazda's Hiroshima test track and recorded the engine and exhaust sound at 1,000rpm intervals to make the game sound literally like the real thing.
They were given the opportunity to drive the car and measure the handling in an attempt to replicate the behaviour of the real car. At least that's the official line. Maybe the boffins just wanted to have a fang around the track.
The new GT3 goes on sale in Japan on February 15, but you will have to wait until March to get it here.
It is unclear whether the final Sony PlayStation GT3 will feature the RX-8 or the RX-Evolv concept car, which was shown at Detroit the previous year although both cars are almost identical except for the headlights and grille.
The sillouette is the same but it seems Mazda itself has not finalised the styling.
The chief designer of the RX-8 says that the car's nose will come in for a "few minor revisions" before the production model breaks cover in 2002.
Gran Turismo conceptualist Kazunori Yamauchi, who was watching the reaction to his creation at Detroit, would not say which version would feature on GT3.
Meanwhile, Drive has learned that while the awesome Nissan Skyline GT-R R-34 appears on the new GT3, one conspicuous absence is Mitsubishi's soon-to-be-released Lancer Evolution VII. It will be added in a later generation of the game.
Oh well, at least there'll be a new Subaru Impreza STi to play with. And an Audi TT. And a ...

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