Real Racers Actually Use Gran Turismo To Train: Interesting bit about how people are using Gran Turismo to train actual racers on various tracks.
[…] GT creator Kazunori Yamauchi clocked over 1,000 [virtual] laps on a famous German track and then had a go at it in real life. In his first 12 laps he was driving at 90% capacity and after a few more he was clocking times that rivaled that of the pack.
I believe it, just due to the familiarity you’d get with the track. I ran the Nurburgring on Project Gotham Racing 3 (and 4) about a hundred times before I saw a real life lap. While watching that YouTube video, I knew every turn, every straight, every chicane — the XBox 360 version was so faithful (even down to the paint markings on the pavement), it was like I had walked the track a dozen times.
Now, I don’t think video games necessarily make you a better driver, despite the realism of Gran Turismo. There are just too many real life variables that a console game is never going to capture. But there’s no question that they help you learn the layout of a particular track, which is a fair amount of the battle.