When you fire up Gran Turismo 6, the opening scene is an interesting one to watch. It goes through shots of the Ayrton Senna Institute, of the Go-Kart track at Interlagos where he began his career and of the kids who attend the institute or that receive education from schools supported by it. Six months after his death 1 May 1994 on the Autodromo Ferrari circuit in Imola, Italy, driving the Williams FW16 (a race that I watched myself), Senna’s family and sister Viviane set up the institution to educate young Brazilians and help them find better prospects for their futures through higher education, work apprenticeships and skills development.
Polyphony Digital today announced that the partnership between the game studio and the institute has finally come to its conclusion and on 27 May 2014 a set of free DLC will become available to GT6 players. The DLC will include two new cars and a host of Senna-fied events, challenges and videos detailing the life of the racing legend.
“To racing fans around the world, the name Senna evokes a range of emotions. This speaks volumes about what Ayrton Senna represents to so many people. For me, he is a personal hero; someone who inspired me to go on the course I am on today,” said Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of Gran Turismo and President of Polyphony Digital, Inc. “I am honored to be able to introduce him to the younger generation of racing fans through Gran Turismo.
“I feel it is a responsibility and privilege to continue his work and legacy through the Ayrton Senna Institute and am grateful to be able to do my part in fulfilling his wish to improve the lives of the millions of children who are supported by the Institute.”
The update also includes slideshows of Senna’s career on the track and a link to the tribute site set up by Polyphony Digital. There will also be an embedded video somewhere titled, “Ayrton’s Wish” which details the changes that the Ayrton Senna Institute has had on the lives of the children that study there.
The cars on offer are the absolutely scary number 12 1985 Lotus 97T, similar to the one that Senna drove for Lotus between 1985-1987 (thank goodness they didn’t choose the one with the Honda engine) and a special go-kart that was one of Senna’s first drives when he first began competing at Interlagos on the kart track. Both cars will be awarded when players complete the events in the Ayrton Senna Tribute which appears on the GT6 home screen with bronze medals or better overall.
Two of the tracks in the challenge are at a 1985 version of Monza and Brands Hatch, where Senna placed the 97T into two pole positions during that year’s championship. The lap time for Monza to beat or at least match is 1’25.084 seconds, while Brands Hatch needs a 1’07.169 or better to achieve the Gold medal.
Interestingly, due to international tobacco laws it wasn’t possible for Polyphony Digital to include a representation of the real lotus 97T because the original has “John Player Special” emblazoned on its sides, whereas the version of the car in GT6 only has “Team Lotus Special.”
I look forward to taking the 97T, which isn’t too different from the McLaren Honda that Senna drove in 1990 and smashing it around Monaco just like he did in this rare video. If you’re wondering where his right hand disappears to, it’s to the gear lever inside the car. Half of the time that most racing drivers were in these machines, they were doing it one-handed, in pee-stained suits, shifting gears without traction control and without power steering or ABS.