Okay, I admit it, there's finally going to be a reason for we X360 owners to be ever-so-slightly jealous of those with a Playstation 3. Granted, it's the wannabe driving sim Gran Turismo 5, but nevertheless the test track from the BBC's hit show "Top Gear" is going to be included in the game. "Top Gear" is a fantastic show about cars and driving and airs Monday nights at 8 on BBC America (#264 on DirecTV).
Here's a link to a number of Top Gear segments on YouTube.com.
Even if you have little to no interest in cars, this is still an excellent show to watch. Kristin seems to enjoy watching it as much as I do, and she drives a hybrid so that right there should tell you something. Each week, the show's three hosts spend an hour reviewing a new car (anything from a Mazda RX-8 to the new 1001 horsepower Bugati Veyron), comparing a selection of similar cars, and will also often hold a challenge. Recent challenges included making their own amphibious cars; building a Caterham R500 faster than their mysterious race driver, aka The Stig, could drive one home from the factory; and even taking three 20-year old beaters down to New Orleans to see who could sell them for the most money (they ended up giving them away when they saw how ruined the city still was).
One of the best parts of the show, however, is the weekly celebrity interview. They bring in a famous Brit, talk him up for a few minutes, then put him in an utterly normal everyday bucket of bolts car (something hideous and underpowered like a Chevy Malibu or Ford Taurus) and time him on the test track. The guys get really into it because they know their time is going to be compared with the other celebs that come on the show. And the in-car camera reveals how nervous they are while trying to race the car. Very funny to watch... especially when they have to turn and look at the shifter to shift.
Getting back to Gran Turismo 5, the game is going to include the test track that the show uses so now you'll be able to see how you stack up against British celebrities in really bad cars. Or, what I suspect is an even more enticing proposition, is you could take the much nicer exotics out onto the track and compare them with the Stig's times.
A look at the course.
Either way, it's a pretty good cross-promotion between the BBC and Sony. Now if only they would finally get around to adding a damage model to the Gran Turismo series then finally, one of these days, it would be worthy of that "driving simulator" moniker it has.