I drove up to the Sony Headquarters and sat in my car. We had been invited to a “GT Pit Stop Experience,” and I immediately volunteered as tribute. When the day finally arrived, my enthusiasm and the lack of expected Auckland traffic got the better of me and I arrived 40 minutes early.
After a long wait and an encouraging wave from Sam the PR guy, I got out and wandered over to the film crew that had gathered outside the building. I had brought my own DSLR, but after seeing the shoulder rigs and fancy lenses, I was hit by a bout of camera envy and quietly stowed mine in the boot.
Saskia never let me hear the end of it afterwards.
Anyway, instead of being led inside the Sony offices, we were greeted by the roar of an Aston Martin, a Lamborghini and a couple of other supercars. I didn’t take a note of the others because the yellow Lamborghini Huracán Performante was all I could see after I saw it.
To my absolute delight, I was waved into the passenger seat. The interior was covered in Alcantara (which is that nice furry material), and there were many, many buttons and switches all over the sleek divider between my seat and the driver’s seat. All of them whispered sweet nothings to me. I was tempted to ask my driver, Ben, if I could press them. But the fact that this car was one of only two in New Zealand made me too nervous to touch anything other than the seat I was sitting on. Or even breathe. What if I coughed and somehow got the car sick?!
Driver Ben was great. He had the whole secret service earbud thing going on, and he walked me through some of the components of the car. He was obviously having the time of his life, popping the exhaust, making the occasional sprint down empty roads. My stomach was left behind several times.
He drove me into a building filled with glass walls and supercars and stopped on a level where a PS4 racing station was waiting for each of us. We had a go on both Sony’s new 4K TVs and the VR headset. On the 4K screen it was pointed out to us how the light gracefully touched the hot air balloons that floated around this specific track. It did look good.
After we had a bit of a go on the game (you can check out the review for the deets on that), we were shown into a room where there were snacks and my hot chocolate waiting for us. I quietly praised the Lord, as I hadn’t had breakfast yet. It was then that a special tour around the building was announced. We were shown through a large room with floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows filled with shiny cars.
“How much is this one?” one in our group asked.
“About four million dollars,” our guide answered.
We all took a step away from the car.
“These are all used and pre-owned cars,” he continued.
“What?! These look brand spanking new!” we cried.
Well, I paraphrase. There were a few more colourful words than “spanking” but adding them in would make this piece twice as long as it already is. So let’s continue to the workshop!
It was the cleanest and prettiest workshop I had ever seen. We were on a sort of mezzanine floor looking down on all the cars and workers, which meant we could see right into the engines. I felt like we had entered one of the labs at Stark Industries. The mechanics even had nice, black gloves so you couldn’t see the oil scuffs.
In one corner we even observed Sideswipe getting a tune up.
After that we all piled into an Audi to get dropped back off at Sony. I, the smallest of the group, naturally called shotgun. I then enjoyed watching three burly men snuggle into the backseat. Although, we were all disappointed to find out that the backseat had plenty of room and everyone was very comfortable.
We didn’t walk away with nothing though. We each got super cool prize packs which had the game, a lanyard, a Sackboy in a GT helmet and a bubblegum car freshener.
When I got back to work, I spent the rest of the afternoon getting yelled at by Saskia for not taking any photos. RIP me.
A SPECIAL AWESOME THANKS goes out to Sony New Zealand and to Sam, who did a fricken amazing job getting all this set up. It was one hell of a ride and I really, really enjoyed myself. What the heck, it was great. Everybody, give this man a hand! *raucous cheering ensues*
Gran Turismo Sport is out now on the PS4! Check out our review here to find out what we thought about it.