Adding to the list of movie adaptations of video games, Sony Pictures’ Gran Turismo hit the box office last weekend. Based on the true story of a Gran Turismo (GT) player named Jann Mardenborough, this inspiring film tells how Mardenborough went from winning a series of Gran Turismo gaming competitions to becoming a professional race car driver for Nissan Motorsports. The film stars Archie Madekwe as Mardenborough (with the real Mardenborough standing in as his stunt double), as well as David Harbour and Orlando Bloom, and it was filmed in some pretty cool spots.
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French cinematographer Jacques Jouffret was hush-hush about filming locations. Even before the film was released, the trailers and teasers from Sony and Michelin had fans guessing which tracks the film crew used in places like Europe and the Middle East over the course of the seven weeks it took to shoot the film. PlayStation Productions’ head producer Carter Swan said they filmed on tracks around the world to make the film feel authentic to race car enthusiasts.
We did some digging to discover where in the world Gran Turismo was filmed. Here’s what we found.
Mild plot spoilers below.
Gran Turismo Outdoor Filming Locations
The night before Jann is supposed to do a qualification race for GT Academy, he goes out in his hometown to a party with his brothers in his father’s car. He then leads police on a chase after the authorities break up the party. Although there is no confirmation of location, the chase appears to have been filmed in Mardenborough’s hometown of Cardiff in Wales.
Many scenes for the movie were filmed in Budapest, including scenes at the headquarters of Nissan and GT Academy. Skilled Gran Turismo players are trained at the academy in Budapest on the track in Mogyoród to become real race car drivers. The Hungaroring track is a 4.381 km (2.722 mile) motorsport racetrack and used throughout the film as a part of the GT Academy. In real life, Jann trained at the academy for six weeks for up to six hours a day.
Home to the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix, the track at Mogyoród is where Mardenborough goes from simulation racing via video game to real racing.
After training at the GT Academy, Mardenborough’s first pro race in the movie occurs at the Nürburgring—a famous racetrack in Nürburg, Germany. The track has changed many times since its first opening in 1927. Today it holds two tracks, a simpler 12.943-mile track and a 15.769-mile track that uses a part of the modern original F1 track.
It’s here that Jann crashes in the Flugpatz corner. The realism in filming makes movie viewers feel like they are in the crowd as Jann’s car hits the barrier and launches into the crowd.
Dubai Autodrome, United Arab Emirates (UAE)
After winning the GT Academy competition, Mardenborough began his actual race career at the Dubai Autodrome in the UAE, and there appears to be footage from this iconic track throughout the film. The 5.390 km (3.349 mile) track provides a beautiful background for competitive racing, including the Dubai 24-Hour endurance race.
Red Bull Ring, Austria
In 2011, a track in Spielberg, Austria was redesigned and opened as the Red Bull Ring. In the trailer for Gran Turismo, you can see Mardenborough racing around a track that circles around a sculpture of a bull. This bull can only be found at one track: the Red Bull Ring. The ring has hosted big races, including MotoGP, Formula 1, and more.
Possible Other Outdoor Movie Locations
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
Fans online wonder whether any race footage was shot at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, located in Stavelot near Spa, Belgium. The Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix is currently held on this 7.004 km (4.352 mile) circuit.
Although there is no confirmation that filming took place at this location, race enthusiasts believe that some footage may have been filmed at the Bathurst Ring in Australia. The mountain background, buildings, and corners look like they might be from the Mount Panorama Race Circuit. In his real career, Mardenborough raced at this track at the age of 20.
If you’re a race car enthusiast, you’ll enjoy trying to spot which famous face tracks make an appearance in this inspirational film. Even if you’re not a race car enthusiast, Mardenborough is the true definition of a success story, and his story will make you want to reach for your dreams.