The motoring giants put together a remote control auto using one of their own vehicles, a Nissan GT-R, and a PlayStation 4 controller - and just to prove it worked, they drove it round the track at Silverstone. But he recently proved he still knows his way around a game controller, remotely piloting a one-off "GT-R /C" around Silverstone's National Circuit from the cockpit of a helicopter that followed overhead.
Since taking out the GT Academy in 2011, Mardenborough has gone on to become a full-time professional driver for Nissan in Japan. Being in the helicopter with the vehicle always pointing away from you makes things easier. "We had to ensure the robotics would work properly during fast acceleration and high lateral g-forces, they had to deliver realistic control of the auto at all speeds, and the connection the vehicle and the DualShock4 controller had to be fast and reliable". Six computers the boot update the controls up to 100 times a second; the steering position is measured to one part in 65 000.
To make it all happen, Nissan outfitted the GT-R /C with four robots that operate the steering, transmission, brakes, and throttle.
▼ The relay rig boosts the DualShock's range to a full kilometer (0.6 miles).
From the cockpit of a helicopter (not his mom's basement couch), Mardenborough drove this GT-R/C reached a top speed of 131 mph/211 kph, averaging 76 mph/122 kph, and recording a lap time of (1:17:47).
Mardenborough described it as "once-in-a-lifetime, truly epic stuff".
And he was impressed with the vehicle, saying: "The response from the auto when using the controller was far more engaging than I thought it would be". Driving a full-size, remote-control GT-R to 131 miles per hour at Silverstone whilst chasing it down in a helicopter was an unforgettable experience. However, if Mardenborough got it wrong, they had two operators on different radio frequencies who could remotely apply the GT-R/C's ABS brakes and cut power to the engine should Mardenborough lose control. "Now that's innovation that excites!"
And race ace Jann Mardenborough took to the joystick to show off the prototype around Silverstone - created to mark the release of the new Gran Turismo Sport video game.