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In its most extreme form, the SRT Tomahawk X Vision Gran Turismo packs a 2,168-hp, 7.0-liter aluminum-block V10 in a shallow 144-degree configuration. The front wheels are driven by a pneumatic system, so the car can put a staggering total of 2,590 hp to the ground, despite a curb weight of just 1,658 pounds. Top speed is something north of 400 mph.

A pneumatic front-drive setup is, to say the least, exotic, but the benefit of running an air-powered hybrid system is that you can also use it to activate aero panels and pressurize the suspension the driver’s full-body anti-g suit. Which is a must-have when you’re dealing with a car capable of pulling something in the neighborhood of 10 gs of acceleration during handling maneuvers on the track.

SRT Tomahawk Vision Gran Turismo anti-g-suit driver outfit rendering

When you think about it, these anti-g-suits aren’t really any scarier than old Top Fuel dragster masks. Photo by Sony

Even without any context, it should be pretty clear that the SRT Tomahawk is a car that couldn’t exist in the real world — at least not in the real world circa 2015. But that’s fine with SRT designers and engineers, who were looking ahead to what, if we’re lucky, will be possible in 2035. Created as part of the Vision Gran Turismo program, it will be available to millions of enthusiasts as downloadable content for the popular “Gran Turismo 6” video game/driving simulator later this summer.

But you could mistake it for a real thing when you hear Ralph Giles talk about driving it (in “Gran Turismo” universe, naturally). Or how Mark Shinedling, SRT advanced concepts manager, fretted about the most extreme Tomahawk — the Tomahawk X — being inaccessible to casual gamers.

So more approachable versions, the Tomahawk GTS-R and the Tomahawk S, were created. Together, the trio represents one part of SRT’s street-racing-technology ethos. Each car has a highly detailed spec sheet. It’s cute. (Read them all below.)

SRT Tomahawk Vision Gran Turismo S GTS-R X lineup

SRT created three versions of the Tomahawk concept to suit different drivers: The road-oriented “S” (top), the extreme “X” (middle) and the balanced GTS-R (bottom). Photo by Sony

Starting in late 2013, SRT personnel used nights and weekends to create what would become the Tomahawk. A contest was held to select a design. It “just about shut down” the product design division for a few weeks, jokes Gilles.

Eventually, Paul Hoste’s lithe, midengined, aluminum-spined single-seater won out. On the surface, there’s nothing implausible about his car, christened “Tomahawk” as a tribute to the wild V10 Dodge Tomahawk motorcycle introduced in 2003. With hints of the Viper scattered here and there, it seems like something SRT could actually build, given an infinite budget.

You’ll have to suspend your disbelief should you dive below the Tomahawk’s skin, which is, by the way, some sort of featherweight graphene nano-carbon-wundermaterial. And don’t pay too much attention to its massive 325/25 R21 front and 425/20 R23 tires, made of some as-of-yet undeveloped compound capable of transmitting the Tomahawk’s massive horsepower to tarmac without liquefying (much like the innards of a non-g-suited driver). It’s more fun to pretend that the SRT Tomahawk is real. Or that it could be real.

SRT Tomahawk Vision Gran Turismo X active aerodynamics in-game

While driving the SRT Tomahawk in Gran Turismo 6, the movement of the car’s active aero is intricate, organic — and distracting. Photo by Sony

We drove the Tomahawk GTS-R and Tomahawk X on a Playstation-based driving simulator rig, and despite having never played GT6 before, we managed one or two complete laps without completely stuffing the thing (we won’t discuss the other half-dozen laps). Our performance was nothing impressive, mind you: watching Tomahawk X’s wild active aero pieces flail about organically distracted us enough to miss all the braking points at virtual Laguna Seca. Other drivers were nailing sub-45-second laps — far faster than any car that’s ever taken to the real circuit.

We were happy to just find an open patch of pavement to do digital donuts. Sadly, we couldn’t trick the car into doing a burnout. So there’s at least one reason to put down the Thrustmaster and hop into a real driving seat, gamers.

Unlike other Vision Gran Turismo concepts, it’s unlikely that the SRT Tomahawk will ever exist in the real world in any form. “A video game car touches millions of people,” explains Gilles, versus the relatively small crowds who can actually see an auto show concept in person.

If you own a copy of “Gran Turismo 6,” you can get your virtual Tomahawk later this summer. If you don’t, keep a close eye on future SRT products for bits and pieces of the Tomahawk (if not its drivetrain); it would be a shame if all the energy and excitement that brought the Tomahawk concept into being remained trapped in the digital realm until 2035.

SRT Tomahawk Vision Gran Turismo concept: Full specifications

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Graham Kozak

Graham Kozak – Graham Kozak drove a 1951 Packard 200 sedan in high school because he wanted something that would be easy to find in a parking lot. He thinks all the things they’re doing with fuel injection and seatbelts these days are pretty nifty too. Read more »
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