Gran Turismo Sophy Exhibition Races at World Series Showdown Video Now Available

Polyphony Digital has released the full videos of the Gran Turismo Sophy AI racing against some of the world’s best drivers at the World Series Showdown in August.

It’s not the first time Sophy has gone head-to-head with top-tier humans, facing off with four Japanese drivers in two “Race Together” events in 2021. On the first occasion it was a comfortable win for humanity, but Sophy came back stronger last October to take the event for the machines.

However both of these events took place within Polyphony Digital’s offices in Tokyo. With the World Series Showdown staged at the Red Bull Hangar-7 venue in Salzburg, Austria, it would be the first time Sophy had raced outside of this environment — and indeed in front of a live audience consisting of people other than Sony employees.

Sophy’s opponents also stepped up a grade too, with five Gran Turismo world titles between them: two Nations, two Manufacturers, and one Toyota GT Cup. Reigning world champion Valerio Gallo and 2018 world champion Igor Fraga would be racing alongside regular Sophy rival and reigning Toyota GT Cup champion Tomoaki Yamanaka and 2020 Manufacturer Series world finalist Emily Jones.

Another first would come in terms of venues, as Sophy would be racing for the first time on a dirt track. The two four-vs-four races would take place at the Sardegna Windmills rally circuit, using a mix of the game’s “Gr.B” cars, and the regular AI haunt of Autodrome Lago Maggiore GP using the Mercedes-AMG GT3.

Despite earning its wings at loose-surface racing, Sophy put in an impressive showing at Windmills, while a ropey first lap for two of the ‘bots — and what looked like some confusion dealing with the first incident from another Sophy — would see the humans return the favor on the asphalt.

We won’t spoil the results but, depending on the points system used for the positions, it looks to have been a dead-heat.

It’s another impressive showing for the Sophy system’s pace, although we’re yet to see how it deals with race strategy like tire wear and fuel consumption, or the most recent iteration of damage. These are things that will be on Sony AI’s radar, especially with the reported timeline of Sophy to enter Gran Turismo 7 before the end of 2022.

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