The new Gran Turismo movie trailer was released earlier today, giving us a first look at what to expect when it arrives in theaters in August. In a heavily car-themed story like this one, it’s always interesting to see what cars appear on screen. Given that the story follows real-life racer Jann Mardenborough’s rise through the Nissan GT Academy, it’s no surprise that tons of hamburger badged cars appear in the trailer. However, there are some quite surprising absences as well.
Jann Mardenborough became the youngest winner of the Nissan GT Academy in 2011, beating out 90,000 hopefuls. He gained an actual seat on real race teams and has since competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the British GT Championships, and Super GT. I got to ride with Mardenborough in 2013 in an R35 GT-R GT3 race car around El Toro air base and he really does have a pro wheelman’s talent.
In the trailer Mardenborough’s (played by Archie Madekwe) rise seems to be heavily dramatized. At just about every turn naysayers dismiss the idea of a gamer becoming a driver, including his father (Furious 7‘s Djimon Hounsou), a driving instructor (Stranger Things‘ David Harbour) and a rival (Josha Stradowski). Naturally, he is going to prove all the doubters wrong and prevail, even taking part in a shoehorned love story along the way.
Now, onto the cars. Most of the race cars are R35 Nissan GT-Rs, which makes sense. Mardenborough’s douchebag adversary drives a perfectly cast Lambo Huracan in a gold chrome wrap. Other cars appearing in the races include typical supercars like the Porsche 911, Audi R8, Ferrari 458, and more.
Meanwhile, David Harbour’s trainer character has a Nissan 370Z NISMO. Later, as Mardenborough advances to Le Mans, he drives a Ligier-Nissan LMP car of some sort. That’s pretty much it, and that’s honestly kind of shocking.
Where’s the new Nissan Z? Wouldn’t this movie have been the perfect piece of media to promote Nissan’s hottest new sports car to an audience who loves racing? Sure, Mardenborough won GT Academy in 2011, but there’s no reason the movie has to be tied to that timeline. Plus, the GT-Rs all have the 2017 facelift so they’re clearly not making a period piece.
We suppose it could still show up in the movie, but a product placement like that typically involves at least a glimpse in the trailer. No one asked us, but if we worked at Nissan we would’ve also insisted a classic S30 Z or Skyline GT-R appear in the background, perhaps in the GT Academy’s museum or in Harbour’s personal collection.
In any case, the movie might be seem a bit formulaic, but more cars and racing on the big screen is always a good thing. It’s difficult for the average American to get into motorsports — it’s loud, expensive, and tracks are far away — and the movie seems to do a good job at explaining that drivers are true athletes as well. If Gran Turismo gets a wider audience or inspires gamers to get into auto racing, that’s a good thing.