Want to take a spin in the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette long before it hits showrooms? You can, so long as you’re down with sampling the new C7 in virtual reality. Chevy announced today that a disguised 2014 Corvette prototype will soon be available as a free download in Gran Turismo 5.
As we’ve come to expect from Gran Turismo, the digital C7 Corvette appears pretty realistic – or extremely true to the disguised test cars we’ve seen, anyways. The model matches most disguised prototypes we’ve seen on public roads, down to the temporary light assemblies installed in place of composite housings. Chevy says particular attention was paid to the “creases and wrinkles” of the padded camouflage sheets draped across the car, and even the blue-on-white license plate is a subtle nod to the Michigan manufacture plates affixed to all C7 mules (the Jan 2013 tags it wears is a coy reference to the ‘Vette’s forthcoming debut at the Detroit auto show). We’ll wait to see if the digital C7 also gives us any clues to its interior design, or how the new 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 sounds at full throttle.
Kazunori Yamauchi, president of GT5 publisher Polyphony Digital and the man behind all things Gran Turismo, says his team is “thrilled” to give players extraordinary access to the C7. “Gran Turismo has had many firsts,” Yamauchi said in a prepared statement, “and we’re excited to partner with Chevrolet for bringing the first ever Chevrolet prototype vehicle into a racing game.”
This might be a first for Chevrolet, but it’s hardly new territory for Gran Turismo. Take a look at how Polyphony Digital worked with Nissan in order to feature the current R35 GT-R. Early demo copies of the Gran Turismo 5 Prologue game featured a so-called GT-R “Black Mask,” model, which was an accurate representation of the disguised GT-R prototypes spotted lapping the Nurburgring. Once the production car was actually unveiled at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, that car was replaced with a normal GT-R in the game. The full-fledged Gran Turismo 5 program, which launched in mid-2011, allows players the chance to use both the production-spec GT-R and the early Black Mask GT-R development car.
Obviously, Gran Turismo benefits by featuring the C7 in its car lineup a little ahead of schedule, but there’s something for Chevrolet in all this. Video games help plant seeds in the hearts and minds of young enthusiasts. Quite a sizable number of enthusiasts, at that: according to game metrics site VGCharts, over 8 million copies of GT5 have been sold worldwide to date. A captive audience of that size, spread across the globe, certainly bends the ear of any automotive marketing team.
Want to fling the C7 Corvette prototype around the Nurburgring, wring it out on the Daytona road course, or — if you want to recreate one of the very first C7 spy shots – slide it around on a snowy rally course? Prepare to fire up your Sony PlayStation 3, as the C7 should appear as a free download within the PlayStation Store later this evening. The GT5 C7 will be available to download free of charge.