Gran Turismo Is Not Racing

Even so, the video game has gotten sanctioning from a very high place.

byMax Goldberg|
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There is no question that Sony’s Gran Turismo is brimming with hyperrealistic graphics and audio. Yet despite our virtual heroics, at the end of the day we’re still just playing a video game. So it’s with great confusion that The Drive read that the FIA, the sanctioning body for the world’s most prestigious motorsport contests, had sanctioned the Gran Turismo offshoot, GT Academy.

For those unaware, the GT Academy brings the best joystick jockeys together at sanctioned virtual competitions throughout the year. It eventually leads to real-life track time, and the prospect of a team assignment. It’s a big deal. Lucas Ordoñez, the academy’s first product, has gone on to race at Le Mans, Sebring and the Nürburgring.

But this is something different. This is like the Surgeon General sanctioning the board game Operation.

Although video gaming has come a long way over the past decade, you still can’t compare simulated racing to real racing. In one, you risk life and limb; in the other, you risk mom’s wrath for being late to dinner—again.

We love racing games just as much as the next person, but the idea of the FIA sanctioning video gameplay dilutes the legitimacy of real FIA-sanctioned events such as the Le Mans 24 Hours and the just-concluded U.S. Formula 1 Grand Prix.

That’s our take. What’s yours? Sound off in the comments below.