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Toyota offers virtual racers the chance to 'get real'

Toyota shows it takes 'e-Motorsport' seriously with new Supra tournament in Gran Turismo.

Toyota’s Gazoo Racing performance arm has teamed up with Polyphony Digital to introduce an online race tournament that could have real-world consequences on future development of Toyota sports cars.

The tournament, which kicks off on the PlayStation 4 exclusive, Gran Turismo Sport, is open to players on the 27th of April and continues through 13 rounds until late October.

Dubbed the GR Supra GT Cup, the tournament is a global competition that will test Gran Turismo Sport players in one-make races across 14 of the game’s iconic locations, including Australia’s Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit.

Gran Turismo Sport, which has continually received free content updates since its barebones launch back in November 2017, has only recently added the A80 Supra to the game, known as its international name – Toyota GR Supra RZ.

Toyota says that “feedback and evaluation” from the online races “will be used by Toyota engineers to shape future models” and “enhance the real Supra in the coming years.”

The 14th and final round of the tournament will be held live at the Tokyo Motor Show in October.

The Supra has only just recently joined the Gran Turismo Sport roster via one of many free content patches. The Supra has only just recently joined the Gran Turismo Sport roster via one of many free content patches.

To participate, players must be at least 13 years old and have a PlayStation 4 with a copy of the game. The first round kicks off at 4:00pm on the 27th of April AEST. Players can check the Gran Turismo website or keep track in-game for up-to-date round timing.

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s e-Motorsport page suggests the tournament is to be run annually.

In a similar vein, Nissan has been running a ‘GT-Academy’ program via a partnership with Gran Turismo for over a decade, which seeks to put the top GT players in real race cars. The program has produced 22 racing drivers thus far.

Gran Turismo is host to the first FIA-sanctioned e-sport in the world, the Manufacturers Series Championship.

‘e-Motorsport’ is just one part of a larger global trend of increasing e-Sport influence worldwide. The virtual 'sport' genre now commands prize pools in the millions of dollars, with the smash-hit game Fortnite now having a USD$100-million prize pool in its 2018-2019 season.

Will you be having a crack at the GR Supra GT Cup in Gran Turismo? Tell us what you think in the comments below.