The annual SEMA show in Las Vegas is a celebration of all things automotive and, it turns out, that applies even to the virtual automotive world. Every year since 2003, video game franchise Gran Turismo appoints judges to recognize a few special cars as the best of their breed and bestow upon the the GT Awards. Of those finalists, Gran Turismo creator and producer Kazunori Yamaguchi picks a final winning car to digitize in a later version of the game.
This year the GT Awards also hosted the final for the Americas region in the FIA Gran Turismo Championship. The final 10 competitors in the contest went virtual-wheel-to-virtual-wheel for three races, with Brazilian Igor Fraga coming out as the champion. You can watch the racing on the Gran Turismo TV YouTube channel, exactly as it played out live.
Back in the physical world, these five vehicles are this year’s winners of the 2018 SEMA Gran Turismo Awards:
Best Asian Import
1972 Datusn 240Z Inzanity
Owner: Kyle Kuhnhausen
Judge: Sam Du, Super Street
“Kyle’s 240Z is one of the most incredible Datsun builds we’ve seen. There’s no denying its motorsport appeal with fully functional aero, LS engine swap, side exhaust, and trick brake duct system, but a closer look at all the little details is what really separates this car from the rest. Everything from its aircraft inspired interior, carbon emblems, rear view camera, hidden audio system, cup holders, pie cuts… You could spend hours appreciating all the work put into Kyle’s Z (5000+ labor hours) and it definitely shows.”
Roadster Shop 1970 Chevrolet Camaro Widebody
Owner: Jeremy Gerber
Judge: Mike Austin, Hagerty
Hey, that’s me! The entire Hagerty editorial team was impressed by this Camaro. It looks menacing but retains the beauty of the early second-generation Camaro’s Euro-inspired looks. Like with the Datsun, the details are what truly make this car shine, from the perfect custom interior to the way the inboard coilovers in the rear are tucked inside the trunk. The square trumpets are a tribute to the 1969 Camaro.
Live to Offend BMW E30
Owners: Khyzyl Saleem & Eric Penelow
Judge: Larry Chen, Hoonigan
“I chose this car because it's a more obtainable car built on a 318 platform. It was a render from Khyzyl Saleem which was made into a real car.”
1970 Ford F100
Owner: Pete Perry
Judge: Jeremy Cook, Truckin
“Being a Truckin magazine pick, I had to choose the truck that would get down the road the fastest, and look the best doing it. Basically, a show quality body on a race ready chassis. There were three trucks that filled this criteria, but in the end I had to choose Pete Perry’s ’70 Ford F-100. Underneath the red satin and all the hand fabbed panels lurks an injected 520-inch Jon Kaase race engine connected to a Tremec TKO five-speed and sitting on Roadster Shop Chassis.”
Overall Winner and Best Hot Rod
1971 Ford Maverick Hardtop
Judge: Mike Galemi, Fastest Streetcar Magazine
“Normally a 1971 Maverick is overlooked until you come across Jimmy Shaw's vehicle. It stops you dead in your tracks because of its nearly perfect stance that is offset with custom body modifications that serve both a race and street purpose. Using a race-inspired suspension with an excellent use of splitters and aerodynamic aides, the Maverick also packs a 1200 hp small-block Ford on pump gas!”