Assetto Corsa Competizione Bentley GT3 Evo Podium Hunters

Hooniverse Asks – has a video game ever made you fall in love with a car in real life?

For millions of people, a video game is what exposes them to the vast and rich world of cars for the first time. Regardless of what title a kid choses, that game and the cars in it can make an impression that lasts a lifetime.

Something like Need for Speed: Underground can show how satisfying it is to have a car personalized specifically to one’s own tastes while dominating the street scene. Gran Turismo can introduce players to thousands of cars they had never seen or heard of while taking them to new tracks they never knew existed. The Formula 1 games can immerse players in the high pressure but glamorous world of the pinnacle of motorsport. And iRacing provides an experience so realistic that it makes you pay a bunch of real money to get punted off track on lap 1 by a Spaniard who thinks they’re the next Fernando Alonso.

No matter what experience players get immersed in, somewhere along the way they’re bound to form some attachment to a car as a result. As a lifelong gamer myself, I can say for sure that my impressions on real cars have been influenced, sometimes subconsciously, but how I’ve experienced them in games. If I see a car that I only knew about because of Gran Turismo 4 I will lose my shit in public. And when I see a Group C car in the flesh, my experience driving them in Project Cars 2 gives me a greater sense of respect for the machinery and the brave souls who flung them down Mulsanne at 240 mph.

So how about you? If you can still remember favorite car from any game you’ve played, sound off.

The story behind that Bentley…

The most recent car I came to love because of a video game is the Bentley Continental GT3 Evo courtesy of Assetto Corsa Competizione. It’s pictured above wearing our gorgeous Podium Hunters eSports livery by Racebox and our own Abe Wozniak. I got back into this simulator recently and rejoined an old league I used to race with. In searching for a car to learn intimately and stick with for the season, I was convinced to try the Bentley.

“No way this big ass thing is gonna be any good”, I thought to myself. “I’ll be like the Ever Given attempting to negotiate some of these tight and technical tracks”, I said with a tone of misguided confidence.

Well it turns out it’s one of the best cars in the sim. It’s such a pleasant car to drive at 10/10ths because it doesn’t fuss or fight back as long as I drive it right. It just does what I want it to do. It feels great out of the box with minimal setup adjustments and it’s fast as hell to boot. It’s a car that I could drive all day and never get tired of. The fact that it’s this good while also sticking out like a luxury super yacht in an America’s Cup race is what makes me love it so much. I love my Boatley.

10 Comments

  1. The Jaguar XJ220 game on my Amiga was a blast. Just googled it for the first time in forever, and the soundtrack took me back in time:

    It’s so simple, yet so perfect.

    When I was working in the mountains, we had a PS2 in the employee’s cabin. I won so many beers betting that I’d beat anyone on a track of my choice, driving the Volvo 240. Drunk people are not fast, ping-ponging along a track.

    1. I think the entire reason people drop V8s into Volvo 240s is because it’s ALWAYS fun to win while driving a brick. Hell, it’s even fun to drive slow 240s and lose.

      1. The cognitive dissonance of driving something that feels so robust fast, is hard to overvalue.

  2. I’m not much of a video game player. I tried Sprint One a couple of times about forty-odd years ago, but the experience did not inspire a love of small, slow, ill-handling, exceedingly boxy… Huh. Perhaps it did.

  3. Speaking of NFS: Underground, I’ve pretty badly wanted an E46 BMW ever since playing that as a teenager.

  4. The original Gran Turismo for the Playstation introduced me to the Skyline R32 GT-R. I’ve never had the opportunity to even sit in one IRL, but I loved that car in digital form.

    1. I’ve sat in one in real life as a passenger on track – it was hilarious, if looney tunes physics was a car…

      Of course that was nearly a decade ago and things have moved on so probably wouldn’t seem quite as impressive now, but it felt nuts and for all the focus on the cars electronic bits, it’s an incredibly visceral car.

      There was a time when you could pick one up for as little as €10k in Ireland during the used JDM import peak in the 00s. Yes, I’m still kicking myself…

      Three things the Gran Turismo series introduced me to:

      1. ASL Garaiya – not sure if this even made proper production, but it did race in SuperGT. It’s made even more nuts when you realize that ASL is an arm of Autobacs, the Japanese accessories store, I mean imagine if Autozone or Pep Boys or Halfords or (insert your countries big generic chain here) made something like a Lotus Exige with lambo doors and a Nissan SR20 engine and it weighed about 900kg.

      2. Suzuki Escudo Pikes Peak – introduced me to how nuts Hillclimb was. If like me you watch motorsport for the cars, and don’t really give too much of a damn about which diva is behind the wheel, hillclimb is where it’s at. Between this and Land Speed racing, other motorsports seem like they’re just penalizing you for building a fast car.

      3. That fourth Gen Camaros aren’t actually bad in the corners, sure it’s not all neat and tidy, but Jeremy Clarkson used to talk a lot of nonsense about US cars, that was outdated even then.

      1. My mechanic has one in the iconic blue. It was the first imported to Norway and doubled in value, relative to what he paid, upon arrival. He loves the car and will never sell it.

  5. The TVR Speed 12 in Grand Turismo 2. It was a hairy overpowered unmanageable beast of a thing that could be only slightly tamed with careful suspension and gear ratio tuning. And the PS2 didn’t have analogue throttle control, so you couldn’t feather the throttle to control the wheelspin.
    The only technique to driving it smoothly was to short shift in manual mode to keep it out of the power band when traction was needed.
    But holy crap, if you could control it, it could beat an Escudo. It could enter corners faster, and with good throttle control it could accelerate faster down the straights and get to a higher top speed. The Escudo only had the advantage mid to late corner when the AWD had better traction. When my mates pulled out their Escudos for racing head to head, I went for the Speed 12. Winning in a car that would flick you into the scenery with the slightest error was hard, but sooo satisfying.

    1. if you had the Dualshock 2 the buttons were pressure sensitive. not super easy to apply partial throttle though.

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