British Cops Use Gran Turismo to Learn High-Performance Driving

After some coaching, their lap times around Silverstone improved.

GTPlanet/Polyphony Digita

If it's good enough for professional racing drivers, it's good enough for the cops. That seems to be the thinking behind sending four Lincolnshire police officers to Silverstone to get some driver training from Gran Turismo Sport, reports Auto Express.

These officers first set base lap times in their patrol cars before any training had taken place. Then they traded their cars for Sony PlayStation 4s. 

"The project saw officials from GT Academy, the virtual-to-real racing body that has been training world-class racers for almost a decade, put police officers through a rigorous in-game regime to see if it could help improve their driving ability, which in turn could supplement the skills they have already obtained through traditional police training methods as part of their roles," a Sony spokesperson told the Daily Star

The game identified areas where officers could improve their driving skills, such as late braking or carrying too much speed into corners. After some virtual practice, officers returned to the real-life track to set another lap time in their patrol cars. The officers shaved a total of 14 seconds off their collective lap times, with one officer improving by 5.7 seconds. Their car control skills had improved as well, with much smoother control inputs and the ability get the maximum performance out of their cars while remaining in control. This is far more important than raw speed in a police pursuit, where officers are expected to prioritize public safety above all else.

But don't expect Gran Turismo Sport to replace traditional police driver training. Even the best virtual reality and motion simulators can't replicate the sensation of motion that only a real car can provide. But today's simulators are realistic enough to learn and practice high-performance techniques that work in the real world. And while games such as iRacing have taken pride in providing the most realistic driving experience possible, Gran Turismo has traditionally appealed more to the gamer crowd, yet now offers similar realism.

So while police stations aren't about to install PlayStations next to their firing ranges, they too might incorporate virtual driver training into their curriculum, just like professional racers do.