Today The Petrolhead Corner is turning to the virtual automotive world as the origin for real-life, working and driving cars. If you’re anything like me, you would have spent a good amount of time on video game consoles playing driving and racing games such as Driver, Gran Turismo, Need for Speed, Forza or any of the annual F1 racing games. Or, if gaming isn’t your thing, maybe you’ve seen memorable movies such as Back to the Future, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Le Mans, Bullit, any of the James Bond movies, the Fast and Furious franchise or the Cars trilogy. In both the world of gaming, and the animated movie industry, there have been countless fantasy cars that might be modelled after a genuine car but never existed in reality. Or have they? Let’s check out two cool stories where either a video game or animated movie car was made into a real car you could (theoretically) drive on public roads!
From videogame to reality: Mclaren solus gt
The Gran Turismo franchise is often cited as the benchmark for racing simulation video games and more than 85 million copies have been sold throughout the entire series. The gaming series is famous for its extensive selection of cars, most of which are officially licensed by the manufacturers, which can be raced around real-world circuits like Le Mans and the Nordschleife, as well as fantasy circuits. Throughout all eight games released since 1997, the cars list, driving experience and visual quality have increased with each new release. Nowadays it comes very close to real-world sensation, and there are entire championships held within the gaming environment. The franchise even sparked a driving/racing academy, a development program where online qualifiers went through an on-track training program. Some of the participants even managed to become professional racers.
As with movies, not everything in the world of Gran Turismo is real though. Besides the fantasy tracks you can thrash your car around, a number of fantasy vehicles have appeared throughout the series. In recent years (pretty much the HD era of gaming) Gran Turismo has even teamed with actual car manufacturers on special Vision Gran Turismo labelled fantasy cars. Brands like Mercedes, Peugeot, Bugatti, Alpine, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Jaguar and others have all designed Vision Gran Turismo cars. Most are futuristic race cars that might have styling elements from actual cars but look like nothing you can buy in real life. Until now that is.
McLaren is one of the manufacturers who designed a Vision Gran Turismo car, and although a number of full-size models have been built over the years, not are actually drivable, commercially available cars. And when I say commercially available, that is to be taken very lightly as all 25 cars have been allocated already. Nevertheless, the new McLaren Solus GT is as close as you can get to an actual Vision Gran Turismo car that can be driven in real life to date. And the car is absolutely bonkers! We’re talking about an 840 horsepower 5.2 litre naturally aspirated V10 engine (with a 10,000rpm redline) that’s nestled in a single-seater closed cockpit aerodynamic track weapon that weighs less than 1,000 kilos. The result is a top speed in excess of 320kph and a zero to 100kph below 2,5 seconds. But it’s likely the cornering ability where the Solus GT really excels.
The styling is insane as well and directly inspired by the in-game McLaren Ultimate Vision GT from 2017. And although McLaren swops out the virtual 1134hp 4.0-litre twin-turbo hybrid V8 engine for the aforementioned V10, and changed the motorcycle-like driving position to a more conventional seated one, the Solus GT comes very close to its gaming counterpart. The central canopy slides forward and has a wrap-around windshield for an optimised field of vision. The extreme aerodynamic body and chassis generate a monstrous amount of downforce and just about everything is made from carbon fibre. As you can imagine, the McLaren Solus GT is a track-only car, but one that is likely to shatter a few records here and there. As mentioned, only 25 will be built at a price of USD 3,6 million, which are all sold out by the way.
For more information, please visit Cars.McLaren.com
From animated movie to reality: Porsche 911 “Sally special”
If you remember a certain 2006 animated movie called Cars, you’ll definitely remember some of the characters portrayed in the Disney-Pixar box-office hit. The movie Cars revolves around anthropomorphic vehicles, all with a complete set of facial features and the ability to speak. The leading star is Lightning McQueen, not named after legend Steve McQueen by the way, who’s modelled after a 4th generation NASCAR with styling cues from the Ford GT40, Lola T70, Dodge Charger Daytona and a 1990s Porsche 911. Other notable characters are Strip “The King” Weathers (Richard Petty’s iconic blue Dodge Charger Daytona), Chick Hicks (A Buick Grand National), Mater (A rusty International Harvester towtruck), Doc Hudson (a Hudson Hornet with the voice of Paul Newman) and Luigi (a yellow Fiat 500).
There’s one character that stands out more than most perhaps, which happens to be Sally Carrera, Lightning McQueen’s love interest when he ends up in the town of Radiator Springs after falling off his trailer while travelling to the last race of the season. Sally Carrera is a bright blue 996-generation Porsche 911 (from 2002 to be precise). And the story of Sally Carrera after the Cars movies is rather interesting! Back when the movie was first released a full-scale model of Sally Carrera was made for promotional purposes, built by Hollywood custom car builder Eddie Paul (who also built a full-size Lightning McQueen and Mater). This lifesize Sally featured a reshaped Porsche 911 body to be identical to the in-movie character. So, the windshield has eyes and the front bumper featured a mouth.
Now though, 16 years down the line, Sally Carrera’s story turned a new page as Porsche and Pixar Animated Studios teamed up to create a special one-off 911 tribute car. This united the people who originally designed Sally Carrera for the movie with Porsche’s Sonderwunsch team, responsible for unique projects. The 911 “Sally Special” is based on the latest generation Porsche 911 Carrera GTS and the whole project took ten months to build. The entire car has been finished in Sallybluemetallic, a custom colour created for this very car.
The body has been tweaked to resemble Sally Carrera’s styling, complete with a bespoke set of wheels. The interior has also been modified to tie in with the exterior. There are Cars emblems on the door panels, Sally Special branded and even a custom mode-selector that reads KACHOW in reference to the movie. The finishing touch is the tribal tattoo hidden underneath the functional speed-activated rear spoiler, directly taken from Sally Carrera’s own tribal tattoo.
This project is not about showing off by building a special one-off car but had a very admirable, charitable cause. The Porsche 911 “Sally Special” was auctioned by RM Sotheby’s during Monterey Car Week and sold for a whopping USD 3,6 million. All proceeds are donated to Girls Inc. and USA for UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency).
For more information, please visit PorscheNewsroom.com