It’s that time of year again! The 2017 Gran Turismo Awards were held at SEMA last week, and another custom car was tapped to be featured in a future game.
The annual event is well known for bringing some of the most interesting and unique cars to the GT series, like the 1972 “Bu’Wicked” Buick Special in GT4, or Grand Touring Garage’s 1970 Ford Mustang “Trans Cammer” featured in GT5 and GT6.
Last year’s award went to an instant classic — a 1951 Ford Coupe — and this year featured another strong selection of finalists. The competition is divided into five categories, the winners of which are selected by various members of the automotive press: “Best Truck/SUV”, “Best Domestic”, “Best Asian Import”, “Best European Import”, and “Best Hot Rod”.
The “Best in Show” is then selected from these finalists by Kazunori Yamauchi himself. Although Kazunori wasn’t able to attend this year, I walked the SEMA show floor with the team from Polyphony Digital who were gathering information for him to make his decision back in Japan.
The winner was revealed by U.S. Gran Turismo producer Taku Imasaki during the GT Awards party at Marquee, one of the top nightclubs in Las Vegas. It was another awesome event, with a special performance by the one and only T-Pain.
And The Winner Is…
Check out my recap video above to see the finalists and how it all went down — and if you don’t mind spoilers, keep scrolling…
The winner is Phil Robles’ 1992 Honda Civic EX. As explained by Taku in the video above, the car was selected because it represents the classic Gran Turismo experience: buying a pedestrian car, fitting parts, tuning it, and taking it to the track to go racing.
Phil’s Civic was almost entirely stock when he purchased it back in 2006 for NASA time attack events. Since then, he’s added a wide-body kit from Rocket Bunny, Volk TE37 wheels, stripped the interior, and performed a K20 engine swap.
In a show like SEMA — which, to be frank, is full of a lot more “show” than “go” — this little Civic is refreshingly utilitarian and practical. It was built to be driven, and it is.
To give you an idea of what this thing will be like in Gran Turismo one day, here’s a clip of Phil himself driving the car at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway earlier this year:
Congratulations to Mr. Robles and all of the category winners. Hopefully we’ll be driving this little Civic in GT Sport sooner rather than later.