It’s common for real cars to end up in video games, but how often does it happen the other way around? Not as often as we’d like to say the least, but they do exist (in large part thanks to the Gran Turismo franchise).
We’re not talking about things like a real-life Mario Kart car or Halo Warthog, these are real cars that look like normal cars, it’s just that their concept started in a video game.
1. Bravado Banshee – Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V has plenty of cars that look true enough to their real-life counterparts without opening the developers up for a lawsuit. As such, the Banshee is based on the 2006 Dodge Viper SRT-10, but for the game’s release, tuner West Coast Customs created a 1:1 scale Banshee replica.
Gamers who bought GTA V on release were entered into a raffle to win the car, but it ended up going to a North Carolina grandmother whose youngest son bought the game on her credit card, so she became the legal owner.
This woman tried to sell it in mid-2014 for US$170,000 to pay for her son’s college tuition but couldn’t find a buyer. She did manage to sell it in early 2015 for only $45,200 before it was sold again in 2018 for $30,800.
2. Volkswagen GTi Roadster Vision Gran Turismo Concept – Grand Turismo 6
This concept was presented in 2014 and originated from a different prototype Vision GTi. It was created as a response to Sony’s invitation to build a Volkswagen celebrating 15 years of Gran Turismo. The car is equipped with a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 engine with 375kW (503hp) of power and 560Nm of torque. It can do a 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds for a top speed of 310km/h (190mph).
3. Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo – Gran Turismo Sport
This concept was unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show and was built under the Vision Gran Turismo project. It contains a heavily modified 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 engine though we don’t know how fast it can go around a track, though we do have simulator numbers that suggest its top speed is 447km/h (278mph).
Only two people in the world have owned this car since its unveiling. Originally it was owned by Prince Badr bin Saud of Saudi Arabia before being sold to Hezy Shaked, Chairman and CSO of Tillys. The car’s price is estimated to be anywhere between US$5,160,000 to US$18,000,000.
4. GT by Citroën – Gran Turismo 5
This car was specially created, designed, and produced for Gran Turismo 5. The exterior was designed by Takumi Yamamoto, the childhood friend of Gran Turismo creator, Kazunori Yamauchi. Yamauchi told the press during the unveiling at the Paris Motor Show 2008 that the pair started collaborating on this project as early as 2003 before Yamamoto pitched his design to Citroën.
The car uses a modified version of the Ford Modular 5.4-litre V8 capable of 482kW (646hp). There was a plan to produce six GTs for the public that will each cost US$2.1 million, but by 2010 it was clear that production had been suspended as costs started to get out of hand.
5. Audi R8 Star of Lucis – Final Fantasy XV
This Audi R8 appeared in Final Fantasy XV and is the result of a partnership between Audi and game developer, Square Enix. According to both companies, this car was crafted for the crown prince of the fictional Kingdom of Lucis.
The detailing along the side blades, air intakes, wing mirrors, and rear wing all feature Arabesque patterns that once again are tied towards the game’s lore. The wheels incorporate rose petal patterns interwoven with elements of the fictional kindgom’s “finely sculpted swords.”
Powering this is the 5.2-litre V10 used in the R8 Plus capable of 449kW/560Nm for a top speed of 330km/h and 0-100km/h in 3.2 seconds. This one-off was priced at 50,000,015 yen (A$620,600).
6. McLaren Solus GT – Gran Turismo
There’s a reason Gran Turismo has so many entries on this list, it’s because they are often considered the benchmark racing simulator. Once again, the McLaren Solus GT is part of the Vision Gran Turismo project.
This car is no joke either having set the third fastest time ever on the Goodwood Hillclimb thanks to its 5.2-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine capable of 626kW (840 hp) and a top speed over 320km/h with 0-100km/h done under 2.5 seconds. Unfortunately, you can’t grab one as all 25 have been spoken for.
7. Red Bull X2010 – Gran Turismo 5
This was designed by famed Red Bull Chief Technical Officer, Adrian Newey, who responded to Kazunori Yamauchi’s question: “If you built the fastest racing car on land, one that throws aside all rules and regulations, what would that car look like, how would it perform, and how would it feel to drive?”
It was Sebastian Vettel who drove the car in game for the first time and he shortened the time on track for an F1 car on Suzuka Circuit by over 20 seconds. In large part, this was helped by the car having fan, much like the McMurtry Spierling. Unfortunately, the only real version of this car wasn’t functional but did show its face at Goodwood 2011.