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PS4’s first Gran Turismo, with the real driving simulator starting to focus on eSports.

Sony’s premier racing series is finally coming to PS4, and competition is at its core. The FiA is officially ratifying its online championship, which is a first for both gaming and motorsport, which means Gran Turismo is essentially becoming a recognised motorsport. Yes, that is a very big deal. GT Sport is currently in Beta and will also support PlayStation VR, which means this is likely to be the most authentic racer experience yet seen.

A cut-down version of Gran Turismo Sport has been made available as a Closed Beta. Available to a select group of gamers, it lets Sony test the game’s defining aspect – its online racing. Offering three race events at set times every day, it’s a taster of what the full game will bring when it launches at some point later this year.

GT Sport was first shown off a year ago, and it looked like a slightly shinier (but also less slick in terms of frame rate) version of Gran Turismo 6. But all that’s in the past. GT Sport is absolutely gorgeous. The game moves at 60fps unless you’ve got ten cars on the screen in which case it drops the occasional frame. Replays move at 30fps, which is fine, since they have extra effects on them to make them look gorgeous. While the trees can look a little flat, and in-car views a little sterile, the overall look is wonderful. The lighting, in particular, is a massive step forward, and the quality of the glare when you face the sun in cockpit view is just magnificent. When you start the game, you’re given a variety of control options, and some of them are retrotastic. If you remember the days of the original Gran Turismo on PSone, you’ll be pleased (or at least tickled) to see there’s an option for digital steering input via the d-pad. But that’s not all! Fans of Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec who lamented the DualShock 2’s lack of analogue triggers will likely have done their accelerating and braking via the right analog stick. That option’s available here too. But don’t worry, ‘normal’ controls with the left stick and triggers are the default. The ‘Sport’ mode is the only one available to play in the Beta, and it features three races: A, B and C, which each have a clearly visible set start time in real world timing. But you can’t just enter them; you need to qualify for them first, using the FIA’s usual 108% rule to make sure everyone on the grid is at least semi-competitive. You can set as many qualifying laps as you like before the race. You’ll get a countdown to matchmaking beginning, and you’re taken out of the game when that happens. You do need to remember to enter the race after qualifying though, it won’t enter you for anything unless you say so. After matchmaking, everyone is let loose from the pits onto the track for a warm-up, before the race proper begins. The upshot of all this is that you spend most of your time on the track, not in menus and lobbies. The progression of play works superbly.

This absolute thrilling Racing game is expected to be released on October 17,2017.