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Meet the Mad Time Attack Car Inspired by Gran Turismo’s Mitsubishi GTO LM



Staff member

The Gran Turismo series has made icons out of many cars, but one that's gone relatively under the radar is the original game's GTO LM Edition — until now.

One of the game's six halo, 500,000cr cars (yes, they really were that cheap!) — to sit alongside LM models of the Honda NSX, Mazda RX-7, Nissan Skyline, Subaru WRX, and the Toyota Supra cover car — the GTO LM was a fictional vehicle based on Mitsubishi's often overlooked "gentleman's agreement" car.

The GTO itself (called the 3000GT outside of Japan) was a technological marvel at the level of the more celebrated, contemporary R32/R33 Nissan Skyline GT-R. Originally featuring active aerodynamics, adaptive suspension and all-wheel steering, to go with the "276hp", twin-turbo, three-liter V6 and all-wheel drive, the GTO was really only held back by its weight.

To create the LM version, Polyphony Digital waved a magic wand over the GTO to cut several hundred pounds, bump power up to north of 600hp, and add GT1 levels of downforce. It was also made available in gold and silver body colors.

For one man, race-car builder and drifter Roger Haalands of Norway, the GTO LM Edition lit a spark which he's now decided to start fanning in earnest. "It's a life goal," he told us, "a childhood dream from Gran Turismo. But it never really existed, so I had to build it."

Haalands is no stranger to some madcap builds, and is a regular at the Gatebil automotive festivals with vehicles like his twin-engined Toyota Starlet — inspired by the Suzuki Cultus Pikes Peak in Gran Turismo 2. Equipped with two, 2.2-liter units from the Toyota Camry, the Starlet kicks out 1,000hp and sure looks the part.

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The project started in 2020 with a regular Series 2 3000GT, but Haalands' magic wand is an angle grinder! As you can see from the images above, much of the car's body has been cut away, leaving the passenger compartment with a custom tube-frame rear end.

However, the modifications weren't entirely done there. The passenger compartment has been reinforced with a multipoint roll cage, and Haalands also cut away a part of the floor on the offside. That's allowed him to fit a 95hp, 1.3-liter engine from a Mitsubishi Colt on that side of the car which, at 70kg (155lb), would roughly offset the weight of the driver on the other side.

Don't worry though, the car isn't propelled by this tiny motor. Instead it's used to drive the alternator, steering pump, and a centrifugal supercharger to boost the GTO's original three-liter V6, hopefully up to the 600hp target: "To get the sound and the performance wide-range horsepower as the game car had," says Haalands.


In terms of bodywork, Haalands is hand-fabricating everything, with the goal being to make a time attack car that isn't a pure copy of the original vehicle but something more like a "2023 Evolution" version, inspired by the original.

Haalands explains: "The most challenging is to get the perfect look, since everything is hand-made custom." He adds that the car needs to look "cool, and at the same time functional, and also keep the look much as possible from the 1996 game car."

Certainly there's enough dive planes and vents to carry that off, as well as that enormous rear wing and diffuser combo. The gloriously yellow paint work and decal style and placement adds to the look — although we're not too sure about the GT movie logo sunstrip. If that wasn't quite enough, there's also a PlayStation 3 controller zip-tied to the rear clamshell.

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Haalands is estimating that the GTO LM will be finished by spring 2025 — just in time for next year's Gatebil events! — and is hoping to run hill climb and time attack events in the car. "Hope one day to race the Goodwood Festival of Speed too," he adds.

As for the cost of the project, Haalands told us "I'm not sure yet. But a lot. And a lot of time."

You can keep up with the updates on the project on a special "GTO LM" Facebook page, and we'll certainly be keeping an eye on this latest Gran Turismo-to-reality build!

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