Project Gotham Racing versus real life

Though there really is no substitute for the real thing, video games are excellent ways to curb your own need for speed. You won’t die in a fiery crash. Your insurance premiums will never go up. You don’t even have to leave the house.

Although I haven’t been playing for a couple weeks now, PGR3 is definitely one of my favourite 360 games. In HD, the environment graphics are phenomenal – much better than NTSC broadcasts. A relative sense of speed is present in all car classes (A through E). In-car view is my favourite because it’s the most realistic. Every car in PGR3 has its pros and cons like real life; but, what’s really interesting for me is that I’ve driven several of the actual cars of those in the game.

Most recently, I test drove the Spyker C8 up and down Las Vegas Boulevard (no joke) thanks to Symbolic of L.V. Inc.’s Lamborghini/Spyker/exotic dealership while in town for SEMA. Not the Double 12 in the game, but the ultra-exclusive and sportier, hand-built aluminum, 400-hp Audi 4.2L-powered Spyker C8 Spyder convertible. A naked windscreen meets the sky without a center span-support structure – there’s simply a beveled edge with the removable hard or soft top out.

Despite hinderences like stiff brakes and an extra large turning circle, the real deal is much better with its grizzly exhaust note, smooth acceleration, remote controlled Lambo-style doors and a stunning design like nothing else. The car’s in-game behaviour is similar to actuality whereas the RWD C8 does tend to get a bit squirmy in quick corners in both situations (LSD is an option in real life), but even PGR3’s in-cabin view doesn’t even come close to capturing the beauty of this purposeful, airplane-inspired interior with its unique gear lever design.

I’ve noticed the game graphics are also not kind to round details like car badges and round gauges, but what are you going to do? The game play is great! Spyker is based in The Netherlands and has been making high-end airplanes for a very long time. It’s coachbuilding heritage dates back to 1898 in Amsterdam where two brothers built their first Benz-engined motorcar.

After reviving in 2000 and appearing in the ’02 24 Hours of Le Mans, Spyker currently offers the C8 Spyder, CS Spyder T, C8 Laviolette and the C8 Double 12 through its network of 13 U.S. distributors including Spyker of Las Vegas. Each model shares the same DNA, but has its own distinctive character. I’m waiting for my colleague to send pics from his home in Belgium before he heads off to the Arctic Circle on an automotive excursion – the Fulda Challenge – in a couple weeks.

A few other cars I’ve had actual seat time in and that are also in PGR3 include the Lamborghini Gallardo and Murcielago R-GT. I drove both in Hockenheim, Germany at a press day the same day as the London terrorist bombings. Okay, it wasn’t a real R-GT, but a modified Murcielago with replica carbon fibre R-GT aero kit and engine mods owned by Lamborghini Stuttgart. My line of work has certain benefits.