Story 5: The Comradery Formed by the GTWS
Countdown to the Gran Turismo World Series Showdown
While most fans of the Gran Turismo World Series (GTWS) watch the races on their devices, little is revealed of what transpires away from the cameras. In its sixth year, Gran Turismo’s international race series has continually brought together the most talented GT players from around the world, and as with any other gathering of people who share the same passion, deep bonds of friendships have formed between them.
"I have formed good relationships with other drivers," Jose Serrano said. "In general, I have become close with the other Spanish drivers, especially with Manu (Manuel Rodríguez) and Brea (Jose Brea). That said, I have also become friends with foreign drivers too, like Kylian Drumont of France and Angel Inostroza of Chile."
By just playing Gran Turismo together, Japanese veteran Tomoaki Yamanaka mentioned that some of his closest friends now are those he met through the game.
"The bonds that I have made have deepened year by year, not just online, but offline as well, especially in Japan. I meet many players privately often and do things together like going to lunch or dinner. In fact, when we organize offline events such as a go-karting competition, 100 people can show up," he said.
According to Italy’s Giorgio Mangano, it’s great fun to practice and socialize with newly formed friends, but there is a limit to how close you can get, especially before a competition.
"I have become friends with many other drivers on the World Series tour—especially Marco Busnelli, Marco Grasso, Patrik Blažan, Coque López and Mikail Hizal. I train with a few of them, too, and sometimes share notes about a competition, but you still need to be careful about giving away too much before a race, such as your pace and strategy," he explained.
With players representing several dozen countries and territories, one would expect that the language and culture barriers would limit the interaction between them, but according to many of the GTWS participants, that has not been the case.
"I have been able to make many friends around the world through the GTWS," Yamanaka mentioned. "Sometimes, we don’t understand each other’s language, but I’m always surprised that we always find a way to communicate. It’s quite extraordinary, really. I think this is a testament of the strength of Gran Turismo and its community."
Indeed, the GTWS has proven that it has the ability to bring the world closer together, no matter what a person’s nationality, background or disposition may be. And, the only way of witnessing this firsthand is by attending a live event like the World Series Showdown in Amsterdam on August 11 and 12.