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Red Bull steals the show with new videogame deal

NEWS STORY
16/06/2010

Half way around the world in Los Angeles E3, the biggest global electronics exhibition, is taking place. It is where the likes of Sony and Microsoft are showing off their latest wares and isn't somewhere you would expect to find F1 news being revealed in a video presentation. However this is exactly what is on offer.

The leading racing videogame series for the Sony PlayStation console is called Gran Turismo and in November the latest version of the game will be released. It has photorealistic graphics and offers players hundreds of road cars to race around digital recreations of renowned circuits such as Indianapolis, Le Mans, Nurburgring, Daytona even the test track from the UK's TV car show Top Gear.

In addition to road cars, the game's programmers at Sony have done deals with World Rally, Super GT and NASCAR to allow the cars from these series to be playable in the game.

The first thing that Pitpass' business editor Chris Sylt spotted when watching the trailer for the latest Gran Turismo game was that NASCAR cars can be seen racing on a specially-created circuit which weaves through the streets of Madrid. Obviously this is a race which has not taken place in real life and indeed the majority of Madrid residents probably do not even know what NASCAR is. However, the street race looks thrilling and that is what counts when it comes to videogames. In contrast, Codemasters, the skilled programmers of F1's official videogame, were not even permitted to allow team sponsors to switch in the digital version for the player to create a fantasy team.

However, NASCAR aside, the biggest surprise in the Gran Turismo trailer came as the in-game scenes switched to real life footage of none other than Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel who says "hi, my name is Sebastian Vettel. We reach around 400kmh on the straightaway." Next up is the team's chief technical officer Adrian Newey and footage from the interior and exterior of the Red Bull Technology headquarters - the place where the Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso cars are designed.

The trailer goes on to show that the game programmers have even digitally recreated in meticulous detail the inside and outside of Hangar-7, the exhibition centre in Austria housing Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz' historic plane collection.

Even the planes inside Hangar-7 have been recreated right down to the last rivet, a task which alone must have taken months and gives an indication of the depth of the partnership between Red Bull and Sony. The Red Bull Racing F1 car is expected to appear in Gran Turismo allowing dream race-offs to take place between NASCAR, WRC and F1 cars. It wouldn't in fact be a first since the Ferrari's 2007 F1 car appeared in the previous edition of Gran Turismo.

Given that licensing the use of cars to game programmers can offer not only exposure but also valuable revenue it is a bandwagon which more F1 teams may well be jumping on.

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