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FIA clarifies relations and future of Gran Turismo

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Jonathan Noble
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Auto racing’s governing body was previously officially tied to the PlayStation-exclusive game series, and hosted the FIA-certified Gran Turismo World Series from 2018 to 2021.

This included regular online competition and a selection of esports events around the world, culminating in the World Series final.

However, things have changed since the launch of the latest Gran Turismo 7 earlier this year.

The FIA ​​name has quietly disappeared from the current championship and is not part of the latest World Series event to be held at Red Bull Hangar 7 in Austria next weekend.

Speculation that the FIA ​​has decided to take a different path on the gaming front has been further fueled by the fact that the FIA ​​has decided to use the Assetto Corsa Competizione platform for the esports element of the upcoming Motorsport Games taking place at Circuit Paul Ricard from 26-30 October.

However, speaking at the Motorsport Games launch event at the French Grand Prix on Saturday, the FIA ​​made it clear that the relationship with Gran Turismo is far from over.

In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com, Frédéric Bertrand, FIA Director of Formula E and Innovative Sports, explained that the governing body had agreed with Gran Turismo head Kazunori Yamauchi to suspend work until the GT7 platform was more stable.

The game’s launch was far from seamless, with a lot of crashes and issues with the lobby’s online experience early on.

“It’s not over yet,” Bertrand said when asked about the status of the FIA’s partnership with Gran Turismo.

“For Motorsport Games, the difficulty we had at that point was that they weren’t necessarily ready to support the live event as we wanted because of the GT7 and everything.

“Therefore, we agreed with them that we will work with Assetto Corsa for this. It’s also easier for us because it’s more open to many countries.

“But we are still working with Gran Turismo on many other projects. So no, this is not the end. It’s just taking a non-exclusive approach and we think esports should be more open.

“This is what Kazunori-san and I agreed on. Agreed, and done in the perfect Japanese manner!”

Lewis Hamilton and Kazunori Yamauchi pose for a photo with competitors ahead of a Pro-Am race on November 22, 2019 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Jack Thomas – Gran Turismo/Gran Turismo via Getty Images)

Photo: Gran Turismo via Getty Images

Bertrand said the FIA ​​planned to send representatives to assess GT7’s progress at an event in Salzburg next weekend, with the goal of renewing the partnership early in 2023 if the game looks like it’s in good enough shape now.

“I will send my guys and if we feel that everything is ready, we will continue again,” he said. “And then maybe at the beginning of the first quarter of next year we will have another project with Gran Turismo.”

Bertrand said that the decision to put Gran Turismo on hold was entirely mutual, and he respected Polyphony Studio, which recognized the need to improve the product.

“It’s difficult at the moment, but they’ve been very honest with us, telling us they need to focus on that first,” he said.

“So we said, ‘OK, let’s make it easy.’ We still need something for Motorsport Games, so we said we have an alternative. We’ll go for this one. And then we’ll continue development into 2023 at the level we all expect.”

FIA develops world ranking system

Bertrand also revealed that the FIA’s long-term goal for its involvement in esports was to create a global ranking system covering all major sim racing games.

“We have decided to attend a certain number of events where we will place the FIA ​​logo and if we can [have arrangements] as we did last year with the Olympic Virtual series, we’ll see how to further work with them on this concept.

“But we are thinking more about creating a rating system. What would we like to have [something like] ATP of tennis translated to Esport Motorsport.

“We would like to be the ones who create the global rankings. To let drivers know where they are on a global scale and where they are in their region and country.

“This is a long discussion. You can imagine how many people we have to convince that we can bring something!

“For us, we feel that we can win more if we put everyone under the roof of the FIA ​​with this classification system. So that’s the goal right now.”

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