How a Gran Turismo World Finalist Helped Design Suzuki’s Vision GT Car

A new deep-dive from Suzuki into the creation of its Vision Gran Turismo has revealed that the racing car version only came into being due to a Gran Turismo World Tour finalist — who then played a key role in its development.

When the Suzuki Vision Gran Turismo first landed in Gran Turismo 7, it took everyone by surprise — indeed we had no idea what the car even was in the regular silhouette teaser!

Developed as a modern interpretation of the Suzuki GSX-R/4 concept car, and taking design cues from the brand’s classic Cappuccino keijidosha (or “kei car”) and current Swift Sport, the Suzuki is a rare example of a Vision GT which wouldn’t be too out of place on the production line.

Even the powertrain is grounded in reality, and Suzuki tradition, with a front-mid, 1.3-liter Suzuki Hayabusa bike engine paired to a three-motor hybrid drive. If Suzuki announced tomorrow that the car was in development for production, we wouldn’t bat an eyelid.

The car was first proposed by Antonio Nozza at Suzuki’s European design team, a Gran Turismo fan as a child who ended up at Suzuki through his love of the Escudo Pikes Peak in the game.

Working with Suzuki’s global design lead Yasukazu Yuki, the man behind the GSX-R/4 concept and the Suzuki Swift, the car was refined into its current form and created as a clay 1:3 scale model to sell the idea internally.

That’s where the car attracted the attention of Kosuke Nishimura. Nishimura is one of the top Gran Turismo players in the world, racing at the World Tour 2019 Nurburgring for Ford and at New York for Volkswagen. He joined Suzuki in 2019 as a transmission design engineer.

Nishimura explains: “Just a week before I was to fly out to Nurburgring, I had an opportunity to talk with Suzuki’s president and CEO, Toshihiro Suzuki, when by chance he sat next to me at the company’s cafeteria. In our chat I told him about my experience as a Gran Turismo player and it seems that this information was passed along to Yasukazu [Yuki], the project manager of Suzuki Vision Gran Turismo. So that’s how I joined the project”.

After seeing the initial design of the Vision GT for the first time, Nishimura immediately realised it could be the basis of a racing car. “I raised the idea right then and there with Yasukazu [Yuki] to produce a Gr.3 version,” he explains.

However the VGT’s powertrain isn’t suitable for Gran Turismo’s GT3-like Gr.3 category, so the team had to rework the car without the hybrid system and with only the rear wheels driven.

It also needed a more suitable engine, so the powertrain design team — led by Yasushi Sobukawa — created a V8 by mating two of the straight-four Hayabusa engines together. Together with twin turbochargers, the resulting 2.6-liter engine produces nearly 600hp, right in the ideal range for Gr.3 cars.

Alongside generating the initial idea, Nishimura’s input as a top-tier Gran Turismo player also helped refine the performance and handling to ensure the car would be competitive in the category — at least before Balance of Performance is taken into account.

As the Gr.3 car only arrived in July 2022, and with players locked into their manufacturer choices made in May, it came too late for Suzuki to be an entry in this season’s Manufacturer Cup. However we should see it on the grid in 2023 alongside the Katana-based Swift Gr.4.

You can read the full article, with comments from designer Antonio Nozzi, chief designer Yasukazu Yuki, and Nishimura, along with design concept sketches, on Suzuki’s global media site.

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