Kazunori Talks About Gran Turismo’s Beginnings in PistonHeads Interview

September 1st, 2012 by Jordan Greer

Automotive news website PistonHeads had a brief chance to talk with Kazunori Yamauchi during his recent visit to the EU GT Academy 2012 finals.

The questions focus on the early days of the Gran Turismo series, and include a few interesting responses from Kazunori about the first game’s development:

“… When I first developed the game, I didn’t even have a chance to look at the European super sports cars. I called directly to the automobile manufacturers, can you meet me, I asked. I would see anyone available.

It was a bit of luck – lucky to get to know that car. No deep meaning, just about getting to know that car. I loved cars. I read lots of car magazines ever since I was at junior school.”

Head on over to PH’s website for the full transcript.

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  1. Sep. 6, 6:43pm
    e30 freek

    I bought my car off pistonheads, way better than autotrader

  2. Sep. 5, 12:44pm

    Good read

    • Sep. 6, 3:20pm

      Agreed I enjoyed it very much as well. I can’t imagine that Kaz still gets asked questions about the humble beginnings of the serious anymore and it’s great being and long time fan knowing how it all began. Kodos to all evolved!!!

  3. Sep. 4, 5:07am

    Greatest simulated interview ever!!! Thanks for the most awesome translated insight to the best game…I mean Driving Simulator of all time Mr.KY!!! That piece of literature should get a Nobel peace prize or something like that…WOW!!!

  4. Sep. 3, 10:10am

    I regret the time when there were championships qualifying rounds to determine the order on the starting grid instead of the chasing rabbit stuff :-/

    • Sep. 3, 12:56pm

      We could only dream of such a thing.

  5. Sep. 3, 7:25am

    It is certain that GT from its very beginning started in the ps1, and the years passed by, the game evolved in what we play nowadays, even I didn’t expect that GT5 achieved something nearly impossible but the GT team made it, to be in the Guinness world records

  6. Sep. 2, 5:10pm

    I would really like to see a Gran Turismo HD Collections, maybe with GT concept tokyo-geneva, GT3 and GT4.

  7. Sep. 2, 3:55pm

    i wish kaz to add more muscle cars

    • Sep. 2, 4:13pm

      Me too.

    • Sep. 2, 6:05pm

      And I would like free beer – but that’s not really relevant to this news item either.

    • Sep. 3, 6:39am

      Well said, MeanElf.

    • Sep. 3, 12:57pm

      Yeah like the Hyundai Genesis R-Spec

    • Sep. 3, 1:25pm
      Pit Crew

      Agreed Mean Elf. Every thread Jordan starts shouldn’t be used to ask for Content. Try and atleast have an opinion on the Topic at hand.

    • Sep. 4, 3:41am

      Thanks guys – I’m really fed up of it :)

  8. Sep. 2, 3:34pm

    Would be cool if PD rereleased Gran Turismo with the same cars and tracks, customizations and music when it was released. Just make all tracks weather change and time change. It was all so simple and exciting then.

  9. Sep. 2, 9:14am

    my uncle allowed me to drive, my first real car, at eight years old, it was a standard shift Plymouth Horizon. naturally, I stalled it probably 6 times before the first corner, but soon after that , I was ready to drive anything I sat into. What does this have to do with this topic? Nothing!

    • Sep. 2, 12:02pm
      Escort mk1 yum

      Lol, I let my son drive my car (manual and he’s only 6 years old ), I bet he would kick most players butts on here on gt5, now he can drive sweet, I can take him to a car park, sit in the passenger seat and read the paper while he just drives around, and he loves it.

    • Sep. 3, 1:26pm

      Haha my 14yr old taught me how to drive a manual with one foot?.!?. That was seven years ago.

  10. Sep. 2, 9:02am

    I have been playing the GT series since the beginning; was 17 when the first one came out, starting my first year of college – I remember everyone coming to my dorm just to play after class. From a tuning standpoint, GT1 was the most thorough as you could do more to the cars – some cars even allowed you to increase their displacement, there were more grades of tires, more turbo options, etc.

    It would be nice to see return to these features in GT6 – I would rather have this over a livery editor

  11. Sep. 2, 6:10am

    “so further GTs were well-balanced between Japan and foreign cars” – 62.22% Japanese = balanced???

    “I like the Nissan GT-R consistently” – We know…………

    ” If you would tune up the Supra [in the game], it would be 1,000hp.” – No, don’t lie..

    • Sep. 2, 6:36am

      “…62.22% Japanese = balanced???”

      Just look at the history of GT – it’s as balanced as they can get it for now; plus there will always be a bias. That’s been known since the begining.

    • Sep. 2, 7:24am

      “” If you would tune up the Supra [in the game], it would be 1,000hp.” – No, don’t lie..”

      He doesnt lie. He doesnt speak about GT5. In older GTs you could tune some cars to about 1000hp, Supras and GT-R among them.

    • Sep. 2, 7:34am

      I am also not sure if that ‘so further GTs were well-balanced’ bit is true. Yes they probably tried to balance the car selection more, but I cannot believe they still have trouble to find cars from all over the world nowadays, after their games have been become that popular and the GT brand overall is that well-known. Of course there are limitations, but saying that further GTs have been well-balanced is exagerrating, excepting GT5 maybe. It still has a Japanese bias, but it’s not as much as in the first four titles.

    • Sep. 2, 11:11am

      It’s a Japanese game… of course the balance is going to swing toward them. If it was an American or European game it would be expected to be balanced the other way… live with it.

    • Sep. 2, 11:13am

      It’s a Japanese game. of course the balance is going to swing toward them. If it was an American or European game it would be expected to be balanced the other way live with it.

    • Sep. 2, 12:21pm

      With each GT that’s passed, the percentage of total Japanese cars has dropped.

      “Just look at the history of GT – it’s as balanced as they can get it for now; plus there will always be a bias. That’s been known since the begining.”

    • Sep. 2, 3:13pm


      Even so, 2/3’s is a bit much, even for a bias. especially considering that there are SEVERAL more regions only taking up the other 33% – You don’t see Forza having as big of an American bias, do you?

    • Sep. 2, 3:43pm

      Well that’s not great reasoning. Was Forza made in the early ’90s with the majority of its cars (over 100 cars, GT1, for a racing game was unbelievable for its time and still is) aimed to please a small American niche? Percentage-wise since GT1, there have been more new-to-the-series non-JDM’s than there have been new JDM’s.

      GT has never been a game about high speeds as the car list has always been about normal street cars. FM has mostly been about fast cars. Just look at each side’s DLC content. Do you really think it would have been plausible to have the majority of the cars in FM1 be full of Camaros, Corvettes, and El Camino’s? Having all the money that Microsoft did and has backed Turn 10 with, coughing up the cash for the Porsche licenses and any hyper car ever imagined NOT from the US doesn’t seem to ever have been a problem.

    • Sep. 3, 12:11am

      It’s just so easy for them to get their hands on Japanese cars. If they want European or American cars not native to Japan, they’ll either have to travel or bring the cars to them. And on a small scale, they do both, but it’s much harder for them to do that than it is to get Japanese cars.

      I think they’re doing the best they can to add as much variety as possible, but the only way they could have a truly balanced lineup is if they intentionally avoided adding some Japanese cars. And when that wouldn’t save them much time or space anyway, why would they?

      The fact is, if you removed enough Japanese cars from GT5 to make the game as balanced as others, it would still have at least as many cars overall as other games. The lack of balance is completely mitigated by the sheer number of cars overall, so there’s plenty of variety.

      So yes, we’d all love to see more American and European cars, but considering how many they already have, it would be hard to argue that they’re not trying.

    • Sep. 3, 6:38am

      Excuse my pragmatism, but if I were designing a game, I’d make it in the way that I’d want it to be, not according to the specifications of some people on the internet that know little or nothing about the creation process. It’s not Kazunori’s job to please all of the people that moan endlessly about every element of his games, and tell him to work himself to the bone nearly full time so that they can sit playing GT6 as soon as possible. He has a life people, and I’m pretty sure his goal in life isn’t to please a load of people that sit whining about games he makes for them all the time.

      If it’s not for you, look elsewhere.

    • Sep. 3, 12:58pm

      @SCER: The GT series is open to criticism just like every video game series out there. If you put something out there for the public to see, expect it to be criticised and picked apart.

    • Sep. 3, 4:57pm

      My point being, @another_jakhole, is why don’t they do some common american and european cars? There are several great new common models from ford, dodge, Audi, Mercedes, chevy, and various other common brands on the market right now. They already KIND OF do this, but most of these cars are standards, and almost NONE of them are modern, anyways. Plus, there’s so many useless duplicates of many cars, which is really supporting the Japanese bias, since there’s nearly no needless duplication of cars from other regions. So doing away with the needless duplications (like that GT-R that’s classified as a whole different car for having a special limited edition paint) and adding normal street cars from other regions would really tone down the bias – and PD already has good standings with Ford and a few other brands I mentioned.

      @dylansan: They don’t have to go out of their way to avoid adding/removing Japanese cars, they just need to leave out the unnecessary cars and maybe not even bother modeling some of the old ones that don’t differ much to either more common or better models.

      But you really can’t say that supercars aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be included because GT isn’t about that – there a big part of car culture, and I believe GT is more about car culture than affordability. And it’s a driving/racing sim game! Shouldn’t you want something that you likely wouldn’t ever to be able to do in real life? Sure, you may be able to rent a supercar at a track for a few laps, but that’s NOTHING compared to owning most supercars on the market already, and having a massive amount of tracks and people to race against at your disposal, plus all sorts of tuning.

      And yes, T10 MAY have more money, but this hasn’t stopped PD from getting several other cars in the game, has it? They should go for the cars Forza doesn’t have yet, and are also very grabbing to pull in more people and give more reasons to buy GT over Forza. It’s just good business. And it’s not like I want the common street cars to go, I’d just like a few more supercars – I mean, really, who DOESN’T like new, fast, or simply pleasurable or fun-to-drive cars? There’s SO many out there that PD hasn’t added, and most seem easy enough to get, but hey, I don’t know what the licensing is like, so I could be wrong.

    • Sep. 3, 4:58pm

      ^ Oh, and don’t forget Australia – they’re already being left out – they should really be a prime focus for now, in my opinion.

    • Sep. 4, 3:36am

      @MuoNiuLa – agreed that people should have the right to criticise, although that only seems to be something trendwise from the past ten years. However, it isn’t a valid argument when someone hasn’t done any research before buying a game, then blames the game in public for not being what they expected.

      So I’m in agreement with SCER here, it is a valid response – there are too many hit-and-run style posts that have nothing to do with discussion all across the news aricle responses. Granted there are a few who return to their comments to explain further and such, but so many who don’t – it’s just cheap character assassination.

      I really think some people must have a sperate account just to spout off and such…

  12. Sep. 2, 2:04am

    This is probably the first Kaz interview that focused on the dawn of Gran Turismo, instead of future plans. I bet Kaz was relieved to answer a different question.

  13. Sep. 2, 1:16am

    Just wondering… Why IS everybody telling their GT and car history stories? I don’t really see where people are getting the inspiration to do so…

    But I don’t mind, nonetheless.

    • Sep. 2, 7:07am

      It sure is better than reading the normal.
      Will Porshe be in GT6?
      My GT6 wishlist:
      This is why GT6 is on the PS4, and nobody better argue with me. I got connections.

    • Sep. 2, 7:39am

      I love how you misspelled Porsche. Makes it more authentic to the actual posts.

    • Sep. 2, 7:54am

      Glad you caught that;)

  14. Sep. 2, 12:48am

    I never knew R34 GT-Rs were MR… lol it looks terribly weighed down in the rear.

    but my story starts about 12yrs ago when i was a kid. i was bought up in mid north NSW and over here in Oz you are always a Ford or Holden, Red or Blue i watched my 1st V8 supercars race which was Bathurst and loved ’em ever since i got my PS1 and Gran Turismo and started gaming… 10yrs later rather ironically i own a Nissan…

    • Sep. 2, 1:08am

      You do know what MR means right? Mid RWD= Mid Rear Wheel Drive= engine in middle and is rwd. The GTR is not a RWD or a Mid Engined car. Its a AWD= All Wheel Drive.

    • Sep. 2, 3:10am
      ENFORCER 98

      im aware of that i was being sarcastic because of the terrible photoshopping…

  15. Sep. 1, 11:33pm

    I always loved cars growing up in metro Detroit. Alot of my family member worked at GM and are still involved. My one grandpa worked at Crysler back in the day and he came up with the colapsable steering column, a big safety advancement in crashes. He presented this to his boss(es) [not sure if there was 1 or more] but was, as commonly occured back then, his boss(es) presented it to the head of the company and took all the credit for it, my grandpa did not get his due. This really upset him and totally turned him off from the industry, so he quit and became an auto shop teacher at a high school.

    But yeah, what really got me into cars was that I was raised in a NASCAR house, so I liked NASCAR. When I was a kid I had all the little diecasts and stuff, I was so into it. Of course I always watched other races, like the Indy 500 every year. The summer before high school was when I really branched out into other forms of racing and liked it all, Indycar being my favorite now, but of course love all forms, Le Mans, any GT racing, not to in to F1 because I hate the corrupt managment, team orders, all that. And of course I like to watch Grand-Am and ALMS (which is merging in 2014, that’s hot new off the truck, ya hear that? Under Grand-Am sanction). But the love of racing really does translate directly to cars in general. So ya, big car guy. And for what it’s worth, first car: 1980 Ford Fiesta Mark 1

  16. Sep. 1, 10:52pm

    Funny how everyone’s getting their car history and car stories… So to fit in, here’s mine: (well the basics of it)

    When I was two, one of my aunts got me a Hotwheels car… Which led to car obsession. From then to now, I now have likely over 600 HotWheels, MatchBox, Maisto, etc. die-casts, several (15+) larger-scale die-casts and models, and recently a large slot car track. I got into Top Gear and started to learn about more about car culture and various other racing tactics, (this was when I was around 12 or so) but then I was mainly more into arcady (crash-y-explod-y) games. Then I found GT5, and BAM! Car obsession is brought to an all-time high. It made me learn just about EVERYTHING about cars, from handling aspects, to driving strategies, to advanced tuning.

    Long story short, in the span of a year, Gran Turismo taught me more about cars than likely anything else could have. And I’m 15 now, hoping to start drivers ed soon, and to get a good first car.

    • Sep. 2, 1:42pm

      Same story here bro. I grew up just bout the same way but im 16 and learned from Ryan Newman on how to race

    • Sep. 2, 3:17pm

      Same here. Hopefully my first car will be a fr or something good

    • Sep. 3, 1:40pm
      Pit Crew

      My Dad had Mopar Blood while mom was an Oldsmobile fan. Dads best buddy had a 389 71 RoadRunner (bee beep) with a blower and hood pins. I usually rode on the roomy back seat floor for fear the engine would blow hood up into window and kill us lol.
      Uncle retired from GM 4 years back while garnering 3 Vettes (1 limited edition Lemans inspired paint Z06 C5) which had me weak in the knees after a high speed sprint down the local expressway.
      Good Times.

  17. Sep. 1, 8:10pm

    On anther note,

    Great selection of cars for that pic. It almost looks intentional. I mean, the R35 is comprehensable. But did they have to put another GTR next to him? LOL!

    • Sep. 2, 7:27am

      What? I doubt its NOT intentional.

    • Sep. 2, 7:43am

      ^ Yup.
      Also, why shouldn’t they put another Skyline there. Nissan, Gran Turismo and Kazuori Yamauchi just belong together. I’m only wondering why they chose a stock R34 instead of a R35, nonetheless, awesome cars in that photo.

    • Sep. 2, 5:15pm

      Bro that is to GT-R’s

    • Sep. 2, 5:15pm

      2*** not to

    • Sep. 3, 1:43pm
      Pit Crew

      Amac 500 R34 is a Skyline GT-R. I like that color though, looks Gangsta.

  18. Sep. 1, 8:06pm

    Kaz was not actually a real car enthusiast until he got to work in Gran Turismo. He was actually a computer programer. He just thought that it would be amazing to have an accurate car game like nothing else out there. His idea was actually rejected back then. Thank god that Sony actually decided to give him a chance. He proved that his idea worked.

    Being involved in Gran Turismo is what actually made him lean towards the car industry and leave his dream of being a programer. Though he actually did since he made a game.

    • Sep. 2, 5:49am

      “I read lots of car magazines ever since I was at junior school.” – Kazunori Yamauchi in the interview

      I’m wondering what source you get that ‘knowledge’ you claim to have about his history from. Is it just what you assume?

    • Sep. 2, 12:15pm

      His dream was to direct movies. You see the replay camera angles? That’s Kaz’s work.

  19. Sep. 1, 5:20pm

    Lots of conversation here about his personal cars.
    If memory serves me correctly, his favorite is the Ford GT and he has two.

    • Sep. 1, 8:00pm

      He does. He also has (or had) a silver Evo. Not sure what gen.

  20. Sep. 1, 5:12pm

    errr, I dont think you can get the supra to 100bhp, can you?

    • Sep. 1, 7:29pm

      no 725 is max

    • Sep. 1, 8:30pm

      no, 64 bhp


    • Sep. 2, 7:31am

      You can. Of course, he didnt say he meant GT5, he clearly meant some older GT which makes sense since that inverview is about the history of GT.

  21. Sep. 1, 4:38pm

    Is anybody else feeling like these translations are pretty unprecise and hard to understand? Sensewise, I mean. It’s probably hard to translate from Japanese to English but I feel like a lot of what he means to say is lost in these.

    • Sep. 1, 7:29pm

      Yeah I feel the same way

  22. Sep. 1, 4:34pm

    I read the hole thing and i finally happy he gave us a str8 answer to why they are so many jdm cars in the game… Atleast now i know were gonna get 50 models a the Ferrari 430 now along with the 50 different skyline model.. nicee

    • Sep. 2, 6:00am

      I think that is one of the reasons behind the looking-back-to-the-origins interviews over the past few months – to let people who didn’t know that this has always been the case, that the game originally had been designed for a Japanese market.

      The fact that early on the games became popular in the ‘west’ has caused a slow inclusion of other car manufacturers, but for the most that has necessarily been a slow process – availability, opportunity, trust by the manufacturers being the key considerations.

      Now that GT is a well respeted series, more manufacturers are happy to include their precious cars – however, it will always remain a Japanese series with a higher focus on certain street cars. The history is there, has been always but so few people seemed to know it.

    • Sep. 2, 3:45pm


      There’s no way I could have said it better.

    • Sep. 2, 6:13pm

      Why…thank you :)

    • Sep. 3, 1:46pm
      Pit Crew

      Yes Yes and Yes Mean Elf,:2 tup (^…^)

  23. Sep. 1, 3:48pm

    I learnt all the car manufacturers from GT. Also my first word was car!

    • Sep. 1, 4:35pm

      I knew a lot about car names and statistics before I even knew about GT, but when I first played it (GT3) when I was about 8, it teached me everything else, like how a car actually handles, stuff like that you have no idea about when you’re 8. Also, I learned a lot about Japanese car culture that way.

      Oh and my first ever spoken word was ‘audo’, which was meant to be ‘auto’, which means car in my language :)

    • Sep. 1, 7:30pm

      My first word was cookie. We’re all special.

    • Sep. 1, 10:42pm

      I really learnt about true car handling/performance, and more advanced racing/driving strategies (basically what KiroKai just explained) when I first played GT, as well… Though, my first GT experience was GT5…

      That’s part of what I lave about Gran Turismo – it just has this way of making you able to learn about nearly every piece of car culture and physics, and it doesn’t seem intentional or boring. I love it. I didn’t seem to get the same type of learning in Forza (sorry to bring it up), but that may have been because I had already learned most of the stuff in GT, and haven’t played FM extensively, so don’t take me up on that.

    • Sep. 2, 3:46pm


      It’s because you got used to GT5. I’ve heard from somewhere else that that was the case.

  24. Sep. 1, 3:45pm

    Hello Kaz !!! I hope you read this. Well my story about Granturismo.. Hmm It’s because of my older brother. I was 7 yrs old when my brother bought GT1 for PS1 and that was the beginning of my Motorsports world. When I was still very young like 5 yrs old, I really like collecting toy model trucks.. But then one day, my brother started buying me collection toy cars just like the TOMICA that’s made in Japan. :) I even bought the JGTC 6 car pack and it even costed me almost 20 dollars (way back 1997) ! I thought I was crazy but yeah that’s how it is. :) Remembering collecting all the legend JDM cars that day through TOMICA. hehe and now, I am now 19 . I started playing GT1 when I was Grade 1 (7yrs old) around 1998) and yeah till now I still into it or I guess it’s now part of my life. :) Having G27 is just awesome! I hope in GT6, it would be more awesome! WHatever GT5 is right now, I am happy with it.
    – Mark D.R (a.k.a Superior7-RPM)

    • Sep. 2, 5:47am
      flink racquet

      Does Kaz read all these? I hope so. Kaz in GT6 I want all premium truck, 4 standard “amphibious vehicle, a c-spec mode (where someone online plays for you) and rear view mirror accessories menu. Thanks Uncle Kaz.

  25. Sep. 1, 3:34pm

    I can’t live without cars. One day I just knew what car is what, I was like 4 years old.

    I still remember the very first car I recognized – it was a purple Daewoo Tico slowly overtaking my dad’s old FSO Polonez :D

  26. Sep. 1, 3:13pm

    This goes back all the way to 1992, 20 years ago.

  27. Sep. 1, 3:06pm

    I’m actually happy for the fact that he has a Porsche in his garage. That means he likes those mad bugs and is almost certainly interested in bringing them to the game. I would kill for a 917, a GT2 RS or a Carrera GT in the game.

    • Sep. 2, 4:54am

      Plus 1

  28. Sep. 1, 3:01pm

    LOL at the terrible photoshop, scale and lighting of Kaz is miles off.

    • Sep. 1, 4:30pm

      Overall I’m quite disappointed at PistonHead’s work. It’s not just that they used a guy poor at Photoshop, but the whole interview is very short (yes they said they didn’t have much time, but this looks like it was done in less than 10 minutes, even with the translating).

  29. Sep. 1, 3:00pm


    • Sep. 2, 12:09am

      Knew this had to pop up sooner or later o_O

  30. Sep. 1, 2:58pm

    So Kaz has a porsche huh.. surprised he doesn’t make more of a push for them to be in the game then, or at least make the RUFs premium.

    Ah well. Interesting read none the less

    • Sep. 2, 4:55am

      True dat

  31. Sep. 1, 2:55pm

    This picture is so fitting…lmao

  32. Sep. 1, 2:50pm

    …..gran nissannismo thats what gt should have been called

  33. Sep. 1, 2:33pm

    His cars was the most interesting part in that interview.

    • Sep. 1, 2:33pm


    • Sep. 1, 2:36pm

      He owns a Porsche, awkward…

    • Sep. 1, 2:50pm

      He’s got TWO GT’s. I’m pretty jealous. Also no surprise he has a GT-R.

    • Sep. 1, 4:26pm

      Agree, I was always wondering how many GT-Rs and what other cars he got. Now that he revealed it, tne thing I’m curios about is why he has a SL55 AMG, but no SLS AMG. They did much promotion for that car since GT5 Prolugue (videos, used it for several cover shots), and he said in the videos several times how stunned he is at the performance of it.
      And I wonder what cars he previously owned and who got these cars today, if they still exist? I remember there was a video of him driving his Evo VI on a race track and fine tuning it some years ago, so that’d be an example, since it’s quite a personal car.

      I also wonder why he got 2 Ford GTs. It kinda explains why there were that many versions of it in GT4 already though, and why it was the car on the cover of the game. It was probably either a car he adored back then or he owned one already.

  34. Sep. 1, 2:32pm

    Really cool! :)

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