A panel of media judges awarded winners of five categories and one champion to be included in Gran Turismo game
Each year a number of awards are handed out at SEMA for a wide range of categories, but among the most covered are the Gran Turismo Awards from Polyphony Digital. You will recognize the name Gran Turismo from the famous line of driving video games available exclusively on Sony Playstation consoles. At SEMA 2016, the 14th annual awards rounded up a number of contenders, picked a winner from each category, and then the first place GT award and the honour to be immortalized in digital format by having their SEMA show car available to drive in the Gran Turismo driving simulator game.
The categories broke down into five areas: Best Asian Import, Best Domestic, Best Euro, Best Hot Rod, and Best Truck / SUV. A panel of well-respected media judges were chosen to filter thorough the one million square feet of trade show floor focusing on the category in which they are experienced. The categories were broad, so there were hundreds of cars and trucks that were worthy contenders. However, the field was narrowed down until five category winners were selected. From there it was a big Vegas-style dice roll to see who Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi would choose as the next Gran Turismo Award winner.
Gran Turismo Award Winner / Best Hot Rod
Owner: Bruce Levens
Vehicle: 1951 Ford
Judge: Brian Lohnes, Editor of Bangshift.com
“This car is a masterpiece. More than 10,000 hours went into creating a high-class hot rod with a vintage engine and the feel of a stunning 1950's racing car. Based off of a humble 1951 Ford, this is automotive elevation at its pinnacle.”
Best Asian Import
Owner: Chris Forsberg
Vehicle: 1975 Datsun 280Z
Modifications: RB25DET Engine Swap with upgraded turbo system, Carbon GNose Conversion, Carbon Fibre / Billet Aluminum Intake Manifold, Suspension & drivetrain, Replaced w/ modern adjustable components, Carbon Fibre Interior Work, Custom Dashboard, Door Panels, Seats
Judge: Sam Du, Editor of Super Street:
"Chris Forsberg's 280Z is a modern take on a Japanese classic. The build uses plenty of carbon-fibre throughout, features a G-nose widebody kit, has a chassis prepped for abuse, and houses one of the most flawless RB swaps I've seen. I can't wait to see the three-time Formula DRIFT champion take it sideways!"
Owner: Chris Marechal
Vehicle: 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback
Modifications: Sequential Gearbox, Supercharged & Turbocharged, Forgeline Centerlock Wheels, Handbuilt Widebody, Brembo Carbon Ceramic Brakes
Judge: Drew Phillips of Autoblog.com:
“I’m nominating the 1965 Ford mustang built by Timeless Kustoms from Camarillo, CA. The car somehow perfectly balances the meticulous details and build quality of a show car with the extreme capability of a full blown track car. The extra wide bodywork - 12 inches broader than a standard ’65 Mustang - is more than backed up by the impressive technical aspects of the car. The engine bay is packed with a 1,000 horsepower Aluminator V8 that is both twin-turbocharged and supercharged, and the car also features a six-speed sequential transmission, carbon ceramic brakes, and an adjustable coilover suspension system.”
Owner: Ravikumar Ayyagari
Vehicle: 2008 Audi R8
Judge: Jon Sibal, Automotive Artist:
“I appreciated the effort involved in making a full carbon fibre body, race spec LMS aero kit fit on a standard street car. The fabrication that went into the turbocharged engine is also impressive down to small details like the exhaust. Great visual impact and with functionality for street and track makes it a great pick for the next Gran Turismo game.”
Owner: Mike White
Vehicle: 2016 Dodge Ram1500
Modifications: Hellcat motor, Matte paint, Wide body, Ceramic brakes, Race wheels
Judge: Sean Holman, Content Director at Truck Trend & Four Wheeler Network:
"The Dallas Speed Shop Hellfire Ram harkens back to my teenage years, where regular cab, short bed sleepers, such as the Ford Lightning and Chevrolet 454SS, prowled the streets looking for unsuspecting muscle cars to shame in a tire-shredding race to the next stoplight. Complete with 775 horsepower, the Hellfire is not only assembled with an OEM-like level of detail, but also uses a host of quality aftermarket parts. The best part is that this isn't some one-off show truck, as you can actually own one of the 10 being built if your wallet is stout enough. But for those of us who can't afford it, ripping around a virtual version on a track in the GT world sounds like a fitting consolation prize."