The Virtual Supercar: Carlos Sainz Drives Audi Sport’s e-tron Vision Gran Turismo

source: Audi Australia

Two-time World Rally Champion and three-time Dakar winner, Carlos Sainz, trials a car that started life in virtual reality before brought very much to life as a one-of-a-kind electric supercar.

It’s an interesting combination to say the least – a rally great behind the wheel of a car that started life as a virtual racing in the world’s most celebrated driving simulator game. But at Audi Sport Neuburg recently that was exactly what happened in the third instalment of ‘e-tron of track’.

To any fan of international motorsport, Carlos Sainz needs no introduction. The two-time World Rally Champion and three-time winner of the Dakar Rally is one of Spain’s most famous sons and is known around the world as El Matador. For younger readers who find the name familiar, he is also the father of current Formula One driver, Carlos Sainz Jnr.

Carlos Sainz is considered one of the greatest drivers of the modern era and continues to lead from the front, consistently finishing at the front of the pack at Dakar and currently the oldest driver to ever win the event. At 61 years of age he is still competing for Audi Sport in the Dakar Rally in the Audi RS Q e-tron and will to head to Saudi Arabia at the end of the year to prepare for the 2024 Dakar Rally which runs from the 5th until the 19th of January 2024.

His choice of vehicle was something very special and very rare. Audi Sport’s e-tron Vision Gran Turismo is a one-of-a-kind all-electric supercar that started life as a concept car created for the PlayStation game Gran Turismo. In 2018 though, Audi Sport took the virtual concept car and over the course of just 11 months, turned it into a reality.

Powered by three electric motors – two on the rear axle and one on the front  – the e-tron Vision Gran Turismo produces over 600kW to race from standstill to 100km/h in a staggering 2.5 seconds.

With electric quattro all-wheel drive, the handling of the svelte supercar is more than up to the performance, which was used to demonstrate the incredible acceleration potential of electric when the car was used for ‘taxi rides’ at Formula E events during the brand’s participation in the Formula E Championship.

After experiencing the e-tron Vision Gran Turismo for himself, Sainz was equally impressed, although having driven the RS Q e-tron in two Dakars now, he is well aware of the lightening response of Audi’s electric race cars.

“Once you get used to it [electric drive] you only want that,” Sainz said after driving the Vision Gran Turismo.

“Now I need to try it on the PlayStation to see if it’s the same or not.”