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Gran Turismo Gamer Takes Second In Class In World-Renowned Race 105

Posted by samzenpus
from the practice-makes-perfect dept.
dotarray writes "If your parents tell you that playing video games will never get you anywhere, point them in the direction of Lucas Ordoñez. Three years ago, Lucas heard about a competition for racing game fans – the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy. Inspired, Lucas picked up a PlayStation 3 and a copy of Gran Turismo and practiced and practiced and practiced. This week, along with his teammates Franck Mailleux and Soheil Ayari, Lucas could not stop smiling as he stood on the Le Mans 24 Hours podium after taking second in class."
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Gran Turismo Gamer Takes Second In Class In World-Renowned Race

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  • Great, now all my time playing Madden has not been in vain! Huge NFL contract, here I come.
    • Yep works for all games, completing an FPS will allow you to buy an assault rifle, flightsims will now let you print out your commercial pilot once you beat them, RTS's will have a black limo pull out outside your house and suits escort you to the CnC center of your countries military.

      Gaming for live!

      • by Predius (560344)

        Umm... actually some flight sims at one time DID qualify as flight hours for pilots...

        • by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @12:11PM (#36437342)

          Umm... actually some flight sims at one time DID qualify as flight hours for pilots...

          Still do actually. The FAA and many others allow use of approved flight training devices to replace some of the hours for flight training.

          Of these, X-Plane is about the only commercially available flight sim software that wasn't specifically made for training that's been approved for use with training. Earlier it required a special build of it, but I think the later ones are the same now - you need a special USB unlock key that puts it into "approved' mode though.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @11:16AM (#36436382)

        I wrecked my first model airplane.

        Then I bought a simulator and practiced for several days. I haven't wrecked a model airplane since. So YES simulators (videogames) can train you for the real thing, as any soldier can attest. It all started back when ATARI was asked by the army to adapt their "Battlezone" game to army tank training.

        • Maybe simulators can train you for the real thing, but a case where a video game improved your ability to fly a model airplane does not in any way support your claim, as a model airplane is still just a simulation. So, in short, you merely provided evidence that practice with a simulator can improve your skill with another simulator.
          • by gknoy (899301)

            Flying the model airplane is a skill in itself -- adjusting for wind, controls without feedback, etc. Practice in a sim can improve that skill. It doesn't improve his skill at flying a 747, but that wasn't the skill he was looking to improve. He basically played a simulation of a simulation, in order to get better at that one.

            Similarly, I could imagine a hunting simulator (probably more complex than Deer Hunter 3000) teaching you to recognize and estimate distance/wind, and help you improve that part of yo

          • by syousef (465911)

            Maybe simulators can train you for the real thing, but a case where a video game improved your ability to fly a model airplane does not in any way support your claim, as a model airplane is still just a simulation. So, in short, you merely provided evidence that practice with a simulator can improve your skill with another simulator.

            A model airplane is a real physical object you're manipulating. It's a very real skill and considered a sport by some. It is no less real than shooting a rifle at clay targets. The r/c aircraft simulators can do well but aren't perfect at modeling all the variables. I can also attest to them allowing me to fly for years with 1 hard landing and 1 total crash.

        • teaching kids that there is nothing unusual or abnormal about deriving entertainment from killing people, so that they lose the natural 'anti-killing' instinct that platoon leaders had to contend with in WWII.

          google killology for more info

      • by SQLGuru (980662)

        I played all of the Leisure Suit Larry games and now I'm..............well, that didn't quite work out.

    • by captainpanic (1173915) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @11:05AM (#36436176)

      Worms Armageddon... I'm an expert at throwing sheep. It's only a matter of time until I need that in real life... I just know it.

    • by Flyerman (1728812)

      I keep playing the Harry Potter games but never get my invitation to Hogwarts!

      • To compensate, you could just follow me around following Hermione around all day, everyday. I've got a nice little love nest in the bushes outside of her house. You keep an eye on where she goes to make sure you don't miss Hogwarts and I'll keep an eye on her to make sure I don't miss a thing...

        And after writing that, I must go wash my hands.
    • by GFLPraxis (745118)
      There's a very big difference between a simulator (Gran Turismo) and arcade-style games. Madden is about halfway in between, but not exactly known for quality.
    • Back when I was doing the whole pro race driver thing, I'd spend several hours a week on a PS/2 and several different driving games.

      It's not *exactly* the same - in particular, a lot of feedback about where the tires are relative to the grip level comes through your ass - but there's enough overlap to make the exercise worthwhile.

      And especially for road courses like LeMans, the game (which duplicates the track pretty faithfully) can be a real help trying to memorize where the course goes. Much of road racin

    • by Tyr07 (2300912)
      I'm good and ready for the Zombie Apocalypse, If mutants break out of labs and go on a killing rampage, or surviving a nuclear wasteland. I'd like to thank Left 4 Dead, Killing Floor, and Fallout 3 for my training.
  • . . . if he was second overall, not just second in class.

  • To get in the pilot's seat of an Airbus A380. All those flying lessons in my den will pay off big time.
  • by KPexEA (1030982) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @11:20AM (#36436452)
    Be born rich, don't be poor. How do you make a small fortune in auto racing? Start with a large one.
    • by chemicaldave (1776600) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @12:00PM (#36437132)
      What does having rich parents have to do with being good at a video game, being invited to a racing academy on your performance in the game, and then being drafted by racing teams, and then actually performing well enough to compete in one of the three most prestigious racing events in the world? Since when does buying a TV and a playstation qualify as rich?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Because having money means you can spend all your time on whatever it is you're trying to do without worrying about having something to eat, or heat, etc. It also means you can afford the proper/best equipment to train with.

        If you can practice 60+ hours a week you can pretty much do anything.

        Then when it comes time to put your skills to use money allows you to have the proper equipment to do it (ie. the cars, mechanics, tires, gas, track time, etc).

        Money is not required to succeed but it makes it a hell of

      • by DeadboltX (751907)
        Life is about opportunity. Being born into opportunity puts you that many steps ahead of everyone else. If you have rich parents and you can spend your entire day playing video games then of course you are getting more training than someone who has to work 2 jobs and only has 1 hour a night to play. Of course skill and will power are factors as well, but there is a serious advantage to being born into opportunity.

        This applies to almost everything in life.
      • Spoken like someone who's never raced.

        The short version: Opportunity cost. If you're working 9-5, it's very hard to sit down on the console for hours on end to play racing games. It's very hard to take several days a month off to go drive real cars at your local track. If someone else is paying for your track time, meals, and roof, you have a huge edge over the guys who fund their racing budget with a 9-5 job.

        I say this as a person who's done it. My first exposure to Infineon raceway was playing Tourist Tro

        • Like any pro sport, its called sponsorship. If you're good enough, you get paid to do it, and it becomes your job.

          • by Burning1 (204959)

            Sponsorship does make someone into a professional racer*, but for the vast majority of riders the sponsorship money simply offsets the cost of racing; the most of the costs are still paid out of pocket, and the sponsorship will not cover living expenses. Even in the televised leagues, there are a lot of privateers paying out of pocket (e.g. the AMA national motorcycle series is primarily small teams and privateers, even though it's nationally televised.)

            The number of racers who make a net profit on the spor

        • Where does it even say he was supported by his parents? In the 2009 article it says he was studying for an MBA and during the week when he wasn't studying he was training. During the weekends he participated in races. Perhaps you're forgetting that he is still young enough that he doesn't/didn't have a full-time job.
          • by Burning1 (204959)

            Basing my response on the parent poster and grandparent poster's comments. Someone asked why it would be relevant whether or not a driver was funded by his family. I answered. No idea if it's actually the case for this kid.

      • Since when does buying a TV and a playstation qualify as rich?

        About late 2008, by my reckoning.

    • by Rasperin (1034758)
      Hey I read that book too! Want to start IT racing so badddd.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      How do you make a small fortune in auto racing? Start with a large one.

      You make a small fortune in auto racing by having sponsors.
      You should read about "start and park" racing to see what happens at the bottom of the racing food chain.
      The difference in the payout for the bottom 10~20 racers is almost nothing, whether they race 25 laps or 250.

    • rich people have a lot of their own problems. emotional, psychological, etc.

  • Shock! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo (196126)

    Guy who is good at driving also plays video games about driving.

    • Guy who is good at driving never would have been discovered without game that simulates race car driving accurately enough to pick up on the fact that he's actually good at driving.

      Take your red herrings elsewhere.

    • Shock! Slashdot poster who didn't RTFA makes comment making it blatantly obvious that he didn't RTFA!
      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        The implication is that he was discovered because he was good at the game, but I don't think you can take that to mean that he became a good driver because he played it. Games, no matter how realistic the handling, can never match real driving because you don't feel all the g-forces and usually don't have to operate the clutch. Clarkson, already an experienced driver, tried learning a circuit on Gran Turismo and then went to do it in real life in the same car and found that beyond learning the layout of the

    • I heard Kobe Bryant learned all he knows about basketball from the Wii. "So realistic."
  • ""If your parents tell you that playing video games will never get you anywhere, point them in the direction of Lucas Ordoñez."

    Basic math: You can't draw a curve through a single point.

    Not to mention that if you don't have the far-side-of-the-bell-curve combination of high eye/hand coordination, fine motors skills, and cognitive abilities (each pretty far over on their own bell curves too), it doesn't matter how many video games you play.

    • by bhtooefr (649901)

      Also, there are physical limits - racing drivers have to be extremely fit, both for weight reasons, and to handle the forces involved in controlling a race car through corners. Simulators expose none of that.

      See the iRacing champion's experience with driving a real race car: http://www.topgear.com/uk/photos/geek-rebooted-2010-11-26 [topgear.com]

      • Also, there are physical limits - racing drivers have to be extremely fit, both for weight reasons, and to handle the forces involved in controlling a race car through corners. Simulators expose none of that.

        Indeed. When I was in the Navy, I worked on/trained in a variety of high- and low- fidelity simulators. A video screen doesn't even come close.

    • by TheLink (130905)
      Actually these realistic driving games are good for in some ways for parents. Because it is cheaper to buy these games and find out whether your kid has a chance than to actually fork out many kilobux or more for a "conventional racing career start" (karting, training, racing, equipment, crashes, etc).

      If your kid can't even get close to the top racers' game lap times, it's unlikely he/she can beat the real life top racers' lap times either. So the parents can say, "sorry kid, for you it's a hobby and not a
      • I know many people who are good at one and suck at the other, so I don't know if the skills translate across, at least when it comes to vehicle control.

        • by TheLink (130905)
          Sure, if you're good in the game, it doesn't mean you'll be good in racing since it takes physical fitness, strength, courage, and also you can't be nearly as heavy as the car ;).

          BUT if you suck in Grand Turismo even when using a steering wheel controller, though you are good in "real world" driving, you're likely to not be good enough to turn pro (so no point wasting time and resources on that path).

          AFAIK the great racers can drive a lot of vehicles well - race cars, normal cars, karts, and virtual cars.
      • Actually these realistic driving games are good for in some ways for parents. Because it is cheaper to buy these games and find out whether your kid has a chance than to actually fork out many kilobux or more for a "conventional racing career start" (karting, training, racing, equipment, crashes, etc).

        Sure. In the same way that buying your kid a microwave pizza and having him reheat it is a cheap and useful way to see if he has a chance at culinary school.

        In other words - no, it's not useful at all

  • I suppose I should have picked a game besides frogger to get good at.
  • Good for him but I don't know that I'd pick Gran Turismo as my top choice for a sim. Plenty of stuff on the PC, like anything from Papyrus, iRacing. I think Forza is even better. But good on him, nonetheless.

    • by bhtooefr (649901)

      Except Sony ran a promotion with Nissan, for Gran Turismo players who did exceptionally well to get a spot in a Nissan 350Z GT4 car. Papyrus couldn't offer that, their last game having been NASCAR Racing 2003, iRacing didn't offer that, and Microsoft didn't offer that, either.

      So, if you wanted to win a chance to be a real racing driver based purely on your skill, Gran Turismo was the way to go. And, in this case, it paid off for Nissan extremely well - Ordonez was good enough for them to put him in a custom

      • by fafaforza (248976)

        True, but the insinuation of the title/summary/article is that the game prepares you somehow, where in reality, it was more the involvement with a real race promotion.

    • by demonbug (309515)

      Good for him but I don't know that I'd pick Gran Turismo as my top choice for a sim. Plenty of stuff on the PC, like anything from Papyrus, iRacing. I think Forza is even better. But good on him, nonetheless.

      I'd have to say Forza is a step below GT still, at least in the actual driving department. That might change with 4, but right now I'd have to say GT still has a clear lead in the driving physics department.

      I haven't actually tried iRacing, but there have definitely been sims on PC that offer better driving physics than GT (especially some of the Papyrus sims). I still prefer GT for the overall experience, though (yes, even the flawed GT5).

  • by nomadic (141991)
    What's interesting about racing is the pool of people able to pursue it as a career is so small that the chances of you getting the most talented natural racers into the sport are astronomically low. With soccer, track, football, baseball, etc., you have a way to work your way up from schools or the streets; if you're truly great at the sport chances are good you'll be found out and put in a position to compete. With racing you have a tiny pool of people connected enough to the sport (frequently through f
    • Well you can start in karting, AutoX or RallyX and work your way up (if a "talent scout" sees you beating the crap out of the competition - about as likely as a street basketball/soccer player getting picked up, but it has happened), still a lot more expensive than other sports but it isn't impossible for someone who isn't ultra-rich or well-connected to work their way in.

      • by Amouth (879122)

        and it doesn't have to be that expensive - sure when you start talking track days it can be - but if you focus more on driving than on goodies in the car.. you can do very well.

        Been AutoXing for years and plan on karting in a few years with my son, but you have to approach it like other "sports" there are a lot of people out there to that want to do it and only a select few get the chance to do it for a living.. that doesn't mean give up on the idea - but it does mean you need to treat it as a hobby with

  • Lucas Ordonez was already well on the way to becoming a racing driver.

    This guy wasn't a regular gamer. He karted as a kid until he was sixteen, when his family couldn't afford it anymore. Karting is where anyone with any racing aspirations starts before they move up to the junior formulas. Lucas Ordonez just had a delay in his career development and got his FIA racing licenses through a very unorthodox channel - Sony's GT Academy.

    Racing success is all about the size of your bankroll and essentially, Sony
    • by fafaforza (248976)

      Robert Kubica and his pop were pretty piss poor and made it to F1 so money isn't the single factor, though it does play a large role.

  • Gran Turismo 5 hasn't been out even one year yet.
  • How is this different from any other young race car driver? I'm not seeing the story here.

    • It was because of his performance in the videogames that he had a shot to do the real thing. Sure, a lot of guys will practice on the games, but it's quite rare that someone will get a seat without proving themselves in the real world first.

      • He was already a racing driver with plenty of kart experience until he was sixteen. He already had more seat time in competitive driving than the lower 99% of GT players combined before he every picked up the GT controller.
    • great game. i love the part where unemployment is stuck at 9% for 4 years in a row and you cant do a damn thing.

  • I drank formula...I was one. It got me where I needed to be.
  • For those that want to know more about what the 24 Le Mans is, and how it is different from other races around the world, there's a great movie called "Truth in 24" which is available from iTunes for free. I think Audi sponsored it. A good movie, even if you're not a racing fan.

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