Gran Turismo 7 first esports broadcast to launch amid controversy

About a month after the first of this year's Gran Turismo World Series esports championship online season ended, Sony and Polyphony Digital are about to broadcast Round 1 of the World Series global online races this weekend.

The Manufacturers Cup will air at 14:00 BST on Saturday 23rd while Nations Cup will be on Sunday 24th at the same hour. The show has been pre-recorded, as the races have already been done. This is the standard procedure adopted for all these online events, and one Polyphony Digital usually tries to force onto 3rd party events they're aware of.

The drivers qualified to compete for global championship points were selected through a quite convoluted process: some were automatically picked thanks to their results during last year's official events on GT Sport, while the rest have been picked according to their results in the first 2022 online season. The list of attending drivers has been posted here.

This list features a lot of returning competitors, as well as a few new names for the official GT series. Obvious favorites will be Igor Fraga, Takuma Miyazono and Valerio Gallo, all recent champions and with the former also being a real life single seater racer. Other serious contenders are ready to take all the glory though, such as Gran Turismo veterans like Baptiste Beauvois, Patrik Blazsán and Ádám Tápai, all known for competing in the best series like GT Fusion since the PS3 era, and for being part of the infamous Team Redline at some point. Interesting to note is that Igor Fraga isn't the only one with real life racing experience: Jorge "Coque" López raced bikes in spanish championships.

Some seemingly new names also need to be watched closely though. Jose Serrano especially could be playing for the win: he won in 2021 the flagship series of IGTL - a series in which more than half the roster of this weekend's races have competed in, including Gallo who won the 2020 edition of the GT3 Masters championship. Miroslaw Kravchenko is also a notable IGTL competitor, known for his very aggressive attitude and eagerness, often resulting in spectacular overtakes.

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But things aren't necessarily only a matter of performance: the division of servers between major regions (5 for Nations, 3 for Manufacturers) with a set number of slots allocated for each of those, with uneven distribution and player density, limits per country on top of that makes the selection process quite complex, and seen as unfair by some competitors, as some of the fastest racers are sometimes left out for picking the wrong manufacturer, having too much competition from their own country, or being outscored by someone in the same manufacturer from a different region, considered less competitive. Minimum age can also prevent some competitors to take part. For instance, the BMW spot for Manufacturers went to the 2nd person in line: Will Murdoch, another IGTL racer who finished 3rd in 2021's GT3 overall standings, took the burden to qualify BMW in his own hands, but got declined the possibility to race since he hasn't celebrated his 18th birthday yet.

A lot of previous high level competitors and champions are missing from the list, some for reasons mentioned above, but most have just moved away from Gran Turismo for deeper reasons, as recently exposed by a series of interviews by Jalopnik.

The lack of prizepools and recognition feature among the main issues cited by veteran players, but a perhaps even more critical concern is the engineered absence of esports teams and sponsors: as players are forced to wear official GT merch at all times, wether in live events or recorded on camera during online races, they can't provide any visibility to their teams and sponsors.

This situation doesn't encourage esports actors to invest, as there is absolutely no return on investment down the line, which in turns hurts both player's perspectives of turning their skill and time investment into a career, and Polyphony's possibilities of growing the scene and making a profit from these events, while they refuse at the same time to support 3rd party events.

The current state of GT7, with its unfinished online lobbies, is also deterring people from taking part. Defending champion Valerio Gallo initially stated on tweeter he would stop racing until GT7 became "a proper game to play and esports ready", before retracting following direct pressure from Polyphony Digital who said this would disqualify him from attending the upcoming Salzburg live event, to which Gallo is normally automatically qualified thanks to his standing champion status:
Despite those shortcomings, the fact remains that all the competitors featured are incredibly talented simracers, and if the event conditions are set right, this could produce very intense racing. If you own Gran Turismo 7, you can also boot the game up and pick who you think wins the Manufacturers and the Nations race, with in-game credits rewards if you bet on the right horse. But did Polyphony Digital bet on the right one with this year's formats ?

Tell us what you want from simracing esports in the comments, either as competitors or spectators.
About author
GT-Alex
Global motorsports enjoyer, long time simracer, Gran Turismo veteran, I've been driving alongside top drivers since the dawn of online pro leagues on Gran Turismo, and qualified for the only cancelled FIA GTC World Tour. I've left aside competitive driving in 2020 to dedicate myself to IGTL, a simracing organisation hosting high quality events for pro racers and customers, to create with friends the kind of events we wished we could have had. We strive to provide the best events for drivers and the best content for viewers, and want to help the simracing scene grow and shine further in the global esports scene.

Comments

While shocking, is anyone really surprised by what's come out about GT today?

The marriage of sim racing and eSports has always been the ultimate display of "the emperor has no clothes" in our hobby.

The view counts and social media engagement are abysmal on anything sim racing eSports related. It is impossible to find any organic discussion of this part of our hobby, pretty much anywhere. Even RD's own articles on the eSports scene... have the lowest number of comments out of anything posted on the site.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have Motorsport Games telling investors there are 81 million "fans" of an rFactor league, which is so chaotic and nonsensical that even major YouTube accounts who don't normally talk about anything with cars, are laughing about it.

We've seen for years that something is way off about all this and now it's finally coming out.
 
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When GT5 came out, I bought a PS3 specifically for it and spent over 1000 hours collecting cars. Much of it felt like work.
When GT7 came out, all I could think was, "I love it! The modders will SLAUGHTER GT7 LIKE A PIG and use the 3D models to CREATE MODS FOR ASSETTO CORSA!"
Sad. For me, GT has become just like an "organ donor". This is probably mainly due to the fact that I hate doing mandatory tasks in order to "earn" a dream car.
EDIT: No, I think I love AC for the freedom to integrate vehicles and tracks. AC is almost an RPG to me: one day I'm playing a Targa Florio driver in the 1950s, the next day I'm Takumi Fujiwara's teammate in Initial D.
 

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Imagine being excited about a bunch of crap-tier ripped mods.
Yes, there's a lot of junk out there, but you know that some of the best AC mods are based on 3D models from GT or Forza (yet another organ donor). Many of these mods are much better quality than the original AC content.
BTW: I love your 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX (GD) Tuned mod :)
 
None of the "best mods" are based on stolen 3d assets. Ever. Period.

I took the trouble to do my WRX the right way. I have little patience for those who dont, or for those who would promote and praise stolen work.
"None of the "best mods" are based on stolen 3d assets."

1. C'mon Man! You know that's not true. I don't want to advertise, but I can think of dozens that are made on a professional level. Large corporations can simply afford good 3D models. "Period."
2. "Your" model for the Subaru was made by Alberto D. Russo. If you had decided to "steal" the model without his consent, it wouldn't have been nice of you, but the quality of your mod would be just as good.
3. I try to understand both sides. You're one of those modders who would never "steal" someone else's work. On the other hand, other modders say: "I bought Gran Turismo and Forza for a lot of money and I want to use the models to create FREE mods as a hobby."

"I have little patience for those who don't, or for those who would promote and praise stolen work."

I'm not a modder. I can't imagine how frustrating it is when someone copies your own mod, changes something and distributes it as "own work".

HOWEVER, I see a flaw in your reasoning:
Like others, Subaru sells the licensing rights to their vehicles to certain game makers. For this reason, the design of the 3D models in Grand Theft Auto 5 only resembles real vehicles, so they do not need licenses for them.

Not only the logo and the lettering, but the ENTIRE design is protected by trademark law. The manufacturer Subaru could quite rightly argue in court that you and Alberto didn't steal a 3D model - but you stole the car design, the logo and the brand name!
I'm playing devil's advocate here: Basically, your 3D model is also "stolen" because you "stole" the car manufacturer's design to create your model! Isn't that almost the same argument you're making?
What's that "glass house" saying again... "Don't throw unlicensed mods" or something like that...

Still, there is a tendency in the AC modding community that I find very questionable:
Mods with the legally protected designs, logos and brand names are SOLD FOR MONEY (usually as "support" on Patreon).
This can't end well. Sooner or later manufacturers will likely start a crusade against it - which could be the end of the modding scene.
 
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J
Premium
The website is becoming a bit 'GT Planet' in feel.
It's not GT Planet until the moderators start banning everyone who has a dissenting opinion from them.
Good riddence.png

All this because Famine was mad I called him out for the site not continuing to report on bad stewarding at the World Tour events back in 2020. Anyway...

While shocking, is anyone really surprised by what's come out about GT today?

The view counts and social media engagement are abysmal on anything sim racing eSports related. It is impossible to find any organic discussion of this part of our hobby, pretty much anywhere. Even RD's own articles on the eSports scene... have the lowest number of comments out of anything posted on the site.

A lot of sim racing tournament organisers dream big, only to be faced with disappointment. Sometimes these wounds are self-inflicted; the V10 R-League you covered on your channel a couple of weeks ago seems to have bugger all advertising for how little I've actually heard of it, yet claims to be a large scale league.

On that tangent, the upcoming Michelin Cup Asia 2022 struggled to garner attention and entries despite a big prize, until word of mouth got around and finally attracted some big ANZ names to attempt to qualify near the deadline. It would be little surprise to see for finals for this likewise perform below expectations in viewership.

Compared to these stories, the FIA GT Championship era was actually a relatively successful one for Polyphony Digital, but even then I'm sure they were hoping for more casual players and esports/racing fans to watch, an audience that was instead won by the F1 Esports Pro Championship. So the series became a loss leader, with an occasional highlight going viral.

PD has at least taken an initiative to get the casual players of GT7 interested this year in the form of a prediction contest for in-game credits this upcoming round, and presumably next weeks World Series Showdown live event also. It remains to be seen how much that will actually help though.

By the way, I'm actually competing at the showdown (substitute for a Manufacturers Cup qualifier who couldn't make it), so perhaps RaceDeparment is interested in my input for a pre or post event article. I'll DM Alex...
 
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Looking at twitter and youtube feeds with the "Renn sport" game coming out seems there all about that esports i couldn't give 2 F's about some esports event.
But this els or whatever it's freaken called it's not for sim racing AT all.
Say 24 hour races every couple of months etc i'll watch that but,guys/gals with more logos/brands on them than my fallout 4 character they must feel some sort of shame
 
No it's not specifically about GT7.

GT7 is a great sim I'm not bashing it.

What doesn't compel me is eSports boys in XX-Large t-shirts, drinking energy drinks and celebrating the result of their 1000000th attempt on their favorite games, while the world outside is going on. This doesn't have anything to do with my hobby of cars and driving. Even sim racing is a hobby to me but only in moderation without looking for the last single exploit, or any exploit honestly.

I RESPECT if others find gaming-tournament news exciting but to me they're not.
 
No it's not specifically about GT7.

GT7 is a great sim I'm not bashing it.

What doesn't compel me is eSports boys in XX-Large t-shirts, drinking energy drinks and celebrating the result of their 1000000th attempt on their favorite games, while the world outside is going on. This doesn't have anything to do with my hobby of cars and driving. Even sim racing is a hobby to me but only in moderation without looking for the last single exploit, or any exploit honestly.

I RESPECT if others find gaming-tournament news exciting but to me they're not.

What I don't like is the over the top profesionalization and what it feels to me like over-comercialization of it. I love competition, seeking perfection at everything in order to gain even an inch of advantage over other competitors by finding time in setup, telemetry, knowledge and discovery of weak points of the physics engine or wathever it is fair and legal. That resonates with me. All the fanfare with streams, sponsoring, profesional teams, kills it for me.

Simracing used to be a level playing field for people that never had a chance to race in real life because of finantial reasons, nowadays you have to compete with a driver that has a dozen of setups made in collaboration with half a dozen of other alien drivers for every single track temperature and weather condition.

I don't want to be part of any team, nor compete with people that has spotters, test drivers developing setups, one or two guys picking the right strategy for you with excel worksheets, and an expert in telemetry overanalyzing everything. That no longer feels like a level playing field anymore, before a single individual could take part in a competition and have a realistic chance to win on his own without external aid.

Teams used to be meant to be a way to learn from others, share setups and telemetry, share tricks, a way to have a team mate to take part in competitions instead of a way to earn money enough to live from simracing alone.
 
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J
Premium
Well, in case anyone is interested, the Manufacturers Cup broadcast is in 10 minutes (probably an hour long at most since it's a single race)

 
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