That Nissan GT-R You Hated in Gran Turismo’s License Tests Is Getting a Hot Wheels

Hello darkness, my old friend.

byAdam Ismail|
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Sony Interactive Entertainment, Entertainment Earth


It can be difficult to keep up with all the sweet new Hot Wheels releasing every few months, but one particular casting is making the rounds this week that I will definitely need to keep an eye out for: Gran Turismo's iconic and, arguably, infamous Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 Pace Car.

The R34 is now releasing as a part of the second set of Pop Culture releases for 2024, along with another Gran Turismo selection, Nissan's Concept 2020 Vision GT. This actually isn't the first time Mattel has released the white, red, and black GT-R—an earlier version launched in 2018. However, that rendition looked pretty bad, with the tampos for the livery only being applied to the sides and top of the car, rather than the whole way around. It was a poor-quality first effort, but this new attempt is one I'd actually love to have in my collection. A light bar on the roof would've been the cherry on top, but I'll take what I can get.

This particular Skyline will be familiar to anyone who got into Gran Turismo during its PlayStation 2 heyday. It was introduced in the Gran Turismo Concept series as a guide for the course license tests; it'd appear again in Gran Turismo 4, where many more of us likely got to know it, chasing it around tracks like the Nürburgring Nordschleife in that game's license tests. GT4 also marked the first time it was drivable, and from then on, the car appeared in GT5 and GT6, as well as the PSP release. In GT Sport and GT7, it was replaced by an R35-based version with a similar livery.

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Alongside the likes of the Castrol Tom's Supra or the Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak Special, the GT-R Pace Car is Gran Turismo. And unlike those vehicles, it only exists in these games. As long as we're talking about fictional race cars that should see similar diecast treatment, I'll go ahead and nominate the Honda S2000 LM Race Car, with its integrated light pod for endurance racing and its lean, mean, low rear wing. It's one of the boldest and best-looking racing transformations Polyphony Digital's ever delivered, and it's sure created a bunch of them over the last three decades.

In any case, having one of these on my desk will always draw a smile, even if the pace car definitely didn't do that back in the day, in some of those license tests. Time heals all wounds—even skill-issue PTSD.

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