We caught up with Kazunori Yamauchi recently, at the EMEA Regional Final in Madrid. Although much of our time was taken up with the Nations Cup and GT Sport one year on from launch, we were able to get some fascinating insights on other topics too.
The Regional Final was just one of three events across the world in October. At each of these events, 30 players hope to be one of 10 that wins through to represent their country at the World Final this week. However, players representing manufacturers in the Manufacturer Series have already qualified for the final through their online performances.
When we asked how the car makers themselves were responding to the competition, Yamauchi-san gave us quite an unexpected answer. While acknowledging that the manufacturers are still very interested, he suggested a way he’d like to improve the series in the future: a team strategist.
“The competitors are still racing against each other individually, but I’m thinking I want to make this a team battle. So there would be a race strategist with the competitors; I want to have it so there would be a strategist who could be on the radio with the competitors driving, telling them the status of the race and what is going on, and have them communicate while they are racing.”
Yamauchi went on to explain his reasoning. At present, in the online competition, players already process a lot of information themselves. However, outside of the pit stops, they don’t get much information on other cars. The strategist would fill in that gap at the live events. “Information like the car ahead is on soft tires on the seventh lap so the guy is going to pit in soon, so you don’t need to force your way around him, or the guy just changed to hard tires very recently so you need pass now,” explained Yamauchi.
But who would fill that role? The manufacturers themselves. Yamauchi notes: “The part they are interested in is that part. They want to provide engineers that will be able to guide them, so an engineer from a car manufacturer and the drivers would form the team and race together.”
The engineer would be particularly useful if another change comes to pass. “Right now the settings for all the cars are the same,” says Yamauchi, “but I want to make it eventually so they can freely change their settings for the cars.”