Formula E (Apparently) Coming To GT Sport - What Does It Mean?
Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi says that Formula E cars will apparently be added to GT Sport's roster in the near future. While this news is for the most part unconfirmed, it would be a very welcome addition to a game that is (slowly but surely) turning into the revolutionary product it promised to be.
Before this, it was announced that GT Sport would be the chosen platform for Porsche Japan’s 2019 ESports competition. During the launch event, Yamauchi and Porsche Japan’s Toshiyki Shimegi sat down with Famitsu.com to discuss the project. The subject of Porsche’s 2019 entry into Formula E was brought up, and how the German marque will help promote Formula E via their manufacturers entry into the sport. Shimegi talked about an increased focus on the virtual world, which led to the inevitable question asked to Yamauchi - is he thinking of having Formula E in GT Sport? The answer was a yes - with Yamauchi stating that he has already had discussions with Formula E about the matter.
According to a source close to Formula E, discussions have been going on between the parties for a couple of years - with Polyphony reportedly scanning a Formula E car as a part of this. There are already links between GT Sport and Formula E - with the Audi e-Tron Vision Gran Turismo car (which is one of the cornerstones of GT Sport) being showcased at this year's Rome ePrix. Whether or not this is ground work for a relationship between the two parties remains to seen, but it does look more than likely that this is the case.
WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?
Formula E already has a presence on rFactor2 and Real Racing 3 - but neither of those have a particular mainstream appeal like GT Sport does. Back in April, I wrote an article about Formula E's future in the virtual world (click here to read it), where I stated the following about a potential relationship between the two:
"If Formula E wanted to get around the limitations that rFactor holds - maybe selling the licence to a franchise like Gran Turismo would certainly be an option to take into consideration. This sort of practice has worked before with past GT games, with the All-Japan Grand Touring Championship (renamed Super GT in 2005) having their cars featured in past entries, starting with Gran Turismo 2 in 1999 - and as a result, the popularity of the real-life racing series that the cars compete in skyrocketed. There is a valid argument for doing the same with Formula E."
This sounds like a logical move for both Gran Turismo and Formula E, and would help continue to grow both of their respective brands. We've already seen GT Sport adding Lewis Hamilton's 2017 F1 championship winning Mercedes to their line-up - and there no reason why Formula E wouldn't be able to do the same.
If these reports are true - it will be a game changer for both Gran Turismo and Formula E.