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This article was published on August 28, 2020

This is the ‘ultimate virtual racing car,’ according to Ford designers and gamers

Ford collaborated with gamers to design the Fordzilla

Matthew Beedham
Story by

Matthew Beedham

Editor, SHIFT by TNW

Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls. Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls.

Over the years, there have been some pretty wild car designs. The Pagani Zonda, the Lamborghini Diablo, and the three-wheeled tilting Carver One are all personal favorites. But all these cars are physical things encumbered by physical constraints and manufacturing limitations.

If you want to see what can be produced when a designer’s pencil is inhibited by nothing but their own imagination, head to the land where anything is impossible: video game virtual reality.

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Ford, in a collaboration with its own esports racing team, Team Fordzilla, has crafted what it says is the “ultimate virtual racing car.”

Let’s take a look.

ford, fordzilla, p1
Credit: Ford Europe
The Ford P1 virtual racing car is something born from pure imagination.

I’m not exactly sure what makes an ultimate virtual race car, but if you ask me it must be part Batmobile, part GT40, and part… that car from sci-fi film Ender’s Game.

Putting any likeness to one side, the Fordzilla P1, as it’s been dubbed, is a unique creation from Ford designer Arturo Ariño. Gamers got to vote on their favorite design from a host of other designers, but Ariño came out on top, taking over 83% of the votes.

Ariño’s design features sleek hyper-futuristic lines, with most of the body work falling below the height of the wheels. A subtle nod back to the Ford GT40 which was one of the lowest racing cars of its class at just 40 inches tall. But this is a video game car, so naturally, it also has morphing body work that can change shape on demand. That’s not something you see in the real world, even though companies — like BMW — have tried.

Watching the video above, it’s kind of surprising to see it dubbed with audio of a combustion engine. Even though it does hit the spot, by now I would expect a drivetrain that’s as forward focused as its styling. Perhaps CO2-powered space thrusters that emit only oxygen would be more appropriate for the “ultimate virtual racing car.”

While we probably won’t ever see a working version, we might get chance to see it in the real world, as Ford says it will build a scale model of the P1 before the end of the year.

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The virtual racer is also going to appear in a “well-loved game,” too. But so far Ford is remaining tight-lipped on that. It would come as no surprise to see Ford’s esports racing team, Fordzilla, piloting this around some pixel-based tarmac in the near future.

Despite this being a totally virtual imagining, there doesn’t seem to be anything about the P1 that means it could never go into production or that it doesn’t hint to where designers want to take car design in the future. Think of it as a window into the true dreams of car designers, one that doesn’t have to play with the laws of physics.

Credit: Ford Europe
The Fordzila P1 will be included in a popular video game but Ford isn’t telling us which.

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