While the world waits for Sony Computer Entertainment to formally announce a release date for “Gran Turismo 5” — Sony’s online Style store says it will go on sale “on or about Nov. 30″ — the game’s creator, Kazunori Yamauchi, seems to be pushing ahead with version 6.0.
“About a week ago I actually sent out a to-do list to my staff for the next version, and the response was, ‘Wow, do we have to start thinking about that already?’” Mr. Yamauchi said. “Pressure is something that’s always been there for me for the past 15 years … my mind moves on to the next thing. I invite the pressure myself.”
The SEMA Show last week in Las Vegas was to have been the venue for a car hire grand release party — the game’s most recent “official” on-sale sate was Nov. 2 in the United States — until that was wiped out by an announcement in October.
Still, the show went on. And Sony, as it has in the past several years, held its Gran Turismo Awards contest, in which the winning vehicle receives the full digital treatment for inclusion in the next version of the game, ostensibly “Gran Turismo 6.” Last year’s winner, a custom 1970 Mustang from Oregon, was chosen from about 250 entries and now resides in “Gran Turismo 5,” supposedly.
This year’s winner for “Best in Show,” selected again by Mr. Yamauchi from among about 100 entrants, went to a 1969 “salsa red” Chevrolet Camaro modified by Mark Stielow of Beverly Hills, Mich.
Mr. Stielow works in the vehicle dynamics section of General Motors — his team measures and refines the way that a vehicle steers, handles and rides — so he knows his stuff when it comes to Camaros.
“The modified Chevy engine now displaces 7 liters, and it’ll make 762 horsepower over 800 foot-pounds of torque,” he said in an interview. “The car has a ’60s feel, and it feels good.”
The suspension bits are new, but the body shell is original, except for the hood, which is aluminum. Mr. Stielow said he bought the car from a seller on eBay in California and had it shipped to Michigan. “It cost me $14,000 — not cheap, but it was money well spent.”
Mr. Stielow says he expects a team from Mr. Yamauchi’s developer company, Polyphony Digital, to come to his garage next year to photograph and record the various growls and roars of the Chevy’s powertrain.
“I’ve already raced it at a few track events,” he said. “It’ll easily go 180 miles per hour, although I think I could get it to 193.”