David Coulthard pips Gran Turismo® gamers by half a second

Press Information

For Immediate Release

On Monday, 05 September, 2011, Formula 1™ ace David Coulthard was thrilled to take victory in an innovative Mercedes-Benz virtual v. reality race staged simultaneously at two locations in Surrey, England.  Driving a real-life 6.3 litre V8 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, ‘DC’ completed a 15 minute shoot-out around the Dunsfold track, home to BBC Top Gear. Up against him were six drivers in the virtual Gran Turismo®5 version of the SLS AMG racing on the same track but from the comfort of Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands in Surrey.

With a live-feed from both locations being broadcast on the Mercedes-Benz website, the stakes were high.  Coulthard was keen to uphold the honour of his profession while the gamers were keen to upstage the master and win a trip for two to attend the Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix as guests of Mercedes-Benz.

With clouds threatening the outdoor event, Coulthard put in a string of super-quick early laps in the SLS AMG, on standard road tyres, and managed to set a 1’16.320 time. Back at Brooklands, only Jason Birt – one of the six who had won the right to race from a field of 24 competition winners earlier in the day – posed a serious threat to the 13-time Grand Prix winner. His 1’16.868 time fell just half a second short of the professional at the end of a fantastic duel.

Motor sport commentator Jonathan Legard hosted the PlayStation grid at the Mercedes-Benz flagship venue while the BBC’s Martin Brundle presented from the real-world at Dunsfold. Media and celebrity names, including Radio 1 DJ Reggie Yates, and TV presenters Pollyanna Woodward and Mike Bushell, also took part in the race, but did not manage to trouble the leader board.

East Londoner Jason Birt (31) was elated by his performance and his prize. “This has been a real buzz,” he said. “It has been a very impressive day with the off-road, SLS and drifting experiences this morning and then the GT5™ racing has been excellent. I only got the call on Thursday to say that I was taking part and so I am really happy to have won the virtual race and be going to Brazil. Shame I didn’t get to beat DC, but he is a real pro and it would have been quite a feat to beat him. A massive thank you to Mercedes-Benz and PlayStation for making this happen.”

An action replay of Coulthard’s flying laps around the track with commentary from BBC’s Martin Brundle, combined with supporting footage from the spectacle at Mercedes-Benz World is currently available on www.mercedesliverace.co.uk.

GT5 fans from around the world are invited to take part in the Virtual v Real challenge, through a specially created in-game ‘seasonal event’ called the Mercedes-Benz Driving Event. The online ‘seasonal event’ went live in conjunction with the live challenge against  Coulthard and it remains open until 23.59 (BST), on 26 September. Close to 80,000 GT5 gamers from around the globe have now attempted to beat David Coulthard via the seasonal event, with over 7,500 people setting times during the 15-minute live time trial, making the race arguably the biggest in the world. The on-going leaderboard information for virtual times is available now on www.gran-turismo.com.


Notes to Editor

The GT5 in-game event  was created by Polyphony Digital Inc. (PDI), the development powerhouse behind the award winning Gran Turismo franchise. The bespoke ‘seasonal event’, the Mercedes-Benz Driving Event mirrors the Dunsfold based race challenge set for David Coulthard.

About the Gran Turismo®  Franchise

With more than 60 million units shipped worldwide, the award-winning Gran Turismo® franchise for the PlayStation® , PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®3 and PSP (PlayStation® Portable) is regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulator ever created due to its true-to-life graphics, authentic physics technology and design. Since the inception of the Gran Turismo franchise, famed creator Kazunori Yamauchi and Polyphony Digital Inc. in Japan have revolutionized the racing category as we know it today. His offerings provide the most realistic driving simulation in the industry and a unique medium for automotive manufacturers to showcase their products.

Gran Turismo®5 was released on 24 November, 2010 and sold 5.5 million units worldwide in its first two weeks on sale. The ninth instalment of the world’s best-selling racing franchise features a completely new physics engine for an improved feel for steering during turns and drifts, delivering a more intuitive driving experience than ever before.  The game also features an impressive line-up of more than 1,000 licensed cars from the world’s top manufacturers.  Other innovative features include stereoscopic 3D support, real-time car damage, dynamic weather effects and a deep online and community feature set where players can race online with up to 16 competitors through PlayStation®Network.  With the widest scope and depth of gameplay options in the Gran Turismo series, Gran Turismo 5 offers users an entertainment experience that is only possible on PS3.

About Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), based in London, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and sales of PlayStation®3, PlayStation®2, PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) and PlayStation®Network software and hardware in 99 territories across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania. SCEE also develops, publishes, markets and distributes entertainment software for these formats, and manages the third party licensing programs for the formats in these territories. Since the launch of PlayStation 3 in November 2006, 47.9 million units have been sold globally and continue to be sold at a record level.  Maintaining its position as one of the most successful consumer electronic products in history, PlayStation 2 has sold over 149.8 million systems worldwide.  Since its launch at the end of 2004, over 67.8 million PSPs have been sold globally, highlighting the importance of the portable entertainment market.  With the huge increase in interest and accessibility of network applications and network gaming, more than 69 million accounts have registered to PlayStation Network, the free-to-access interactive environment, and over 1.43 billion items have been downloaded.

More information about PlayStation products can be found at www.playstation.com.

PlayStation, PS3, Gran Turismo and GT5 are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. All other trademarks, property of their respective owners.


Games PressGames Press is the leading online resource for games journalists. Used daily by magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, online media and retailers worldwide, it offers a vast, constantly updated archive of press releases and assets, and is the simplest and most cost-effective way for PR professionals to reach the widest possible audience. Registration for the site and the Games Press email digest is available, to the trade only, at www.gamespress.com.