How to design a Porsche concept car
Meet the masterminds behind Gran Turismo 7’s Porsche Vision GT
Rear view of the Porsche Vision Gran Turismo concept car
You dream it. You drive it. The design minds behind the exclusive in-game Porsche explain the process of creating the CGI wonder that became a full-sized model
Exclusively available to drive in Gran Turismo 7 on the Sony PlayStation 4 and 5, the Porsche Vision GT is the virtual racing car of the future. Each of its innovative features was created by a talented group of Porsche designers, with the in-game vehicle even becoming a tangible reality as it was built as a 1:1 scale model.  We spoke to three of those dedicated designers, Salar Vakili (Advanced Interior Designer, Style Porsche), Fabian Schmölz (Exterior Designer, Style Porsche and Pegah Vaezzadeh (Visualisation Specialist), to find out what went into designing the Porsche concept car.
Three men in front of Porsche Vision GT concept car
The designers likened the process of making the concept car to the feeling of hanging out in a garage with friends
In creating the Porsche Vision Gran Turismo, you had the kind of creative freedom that automotive designers can only dream of. What was that like?Fabian “As a kid of the 1990s who was already a fan of the Gran Turismo series, designing a car for this galaxy was a dream come true. It gave me the possibility to reinvent my idea of the brand, far away from laws, regulations or financial restrictions.” 

Salar “It was a dream project for us because of this creative freedom. We were essentially given an empty canvas to design a Porsche sportscar, which meant we were able to put very experimental and innovative concepts and technologies into this car. As a result, I got to implement many ideas that I couldn’t have applied if I had been designing a real life sportscar.” 
Computer renderings of front and back of Porsche Vision GT
Presenting the concept for the sportscar of the future
But such artistic freedom can come with challenges too, can't it?Fabian “The main challenge was the fact that you don’t have a previous model and its heritage to build upon – it’s not the next 911, where you already know rough proportions. And yet this was also the thrilling part. We weren’t just designing a shell, we had to construct that shell from scratch.” 

Salar “There is a fine line between fantasy and innovative ideas that can actually make the product better. With such freedom, I had to constantly reflect upon my ideas in order to design an authentic and progressive sportscar, but at the same time remain true to core Porsche values. Since Gran Turismo is a simulation of real-world racing, we wanted to keep our concept car as believable as possible. That thinking was then put into every element, such as deciding its top speed should be 350km/h.”
Design sketch of the cockpit of the Porsche Vision GT
Back to the drawing board: every element was sketched out before scaling up to a full-size model
What are the similarities and differences between creating a virtual car and a real one?Fabian “A lot is actually very similar. There’s an ideation and sketch phase, followed by a 3D proportion model, and then physical scale models, all the way up to a full-sized car. The differences were the brief – to design a car for a virtual racing game – as well as the purpose of the final design, since in the beginning nobody knew what the car would become. Plus, a production car could take five years of development from the first sketch to the final product, whereas this project took around six months.”

Pegah “By visualising a real car you can always check afterwards if your concept is communicating the true nature of the car. But visualising a purely virtual one forces you to think much more precisely. How would it feel, smell and drive? You must use your imagination to get a sense of it.”

Salar “In both worlds, we design cars for and around humans, meaning that the sporty driving experience and the human-car connection on a physical and emotional level are similar. However, in the case of designing a car for a virtual world, we can use very experimental and technologically challenging ideas, such as using holographic displays instead of physical ones.”
3D render of the Porsche Vision Gran Turismo’s interiors
Designing this Porsche concept car meant the artistic freedom to rethink every element, inside and out
Where did your inspiration come from? As a futuristic car, did the Taycan influence the design?Fabian “I take inspiration from everywhere I can. I like to visit art museums, and watch fashion shows and documentaries to stay on the pulse. Heroes from the past, like the 908 Spyder with its radical motorsport elements, of course influenced the concept. The Taycan, however, really led the way when it came to developing its electric form, efficiency, lightweight structure and smart aerodynamic features.”

Pegah “Life itself is inspiration – you just have to walk around with your eyes wide open. Every moment can be inspiring. One key for creativity is to combine different things into something innovative. The more you experience and see, the more you can use it as inspiration.”

Salar “One important source of inspiration was cutting-edge racing cars like the Porsche 919 hybrid. Another was vehicles such as racing and mountain bikes. As our first fully electric sportscar, the Taycan definitely played an important part. The cockpit of the Porsche Vision Gran Turismo, for example, is built around the driver, with a clear focus on the driver axis. Seamless ergonomics and a strong bond between the driver and the surrounding geometry were applied in both the Taycan as well as our futuristic concept.”
What other sources did you draw upon to help inform the development?Salar “As we are amateur gamers – I spent countless hours in my teenage years playing Gran Turismo and other racing games – this experience was a huge benefit when it came to the design process. We consulted with the gaming experts at Polyphony Digital (the Tokyo-based video game studio behind the Gran Turismo series) as well as professional sim racers via the Porsche Motorsport department.”

Fabian “As we worked closely with the Motorsport department, we got a lot of input from real race drivers and what their big wishes were. As I also enjoy sim racing with friends from time to time, so I know a bit about what gamers want – honest cars and honest challenges.” 
The Porsche Vision Gran Turismo truly has been a product of passion, creativity, skill, and dreams. This car has a soul, and people are going to feel that
Pegah Vaezzadeh | Visualisation Specialist
What was the most difficult aspect throughout the six months you worked on the project? Pegah “Visualising the soul of the car. Since it’s more than just a racecar, I tried to catch this feeling in my renderings. The fact that it is a virtual car changes your feelings about it. The greatest challenge is always to transfer the invisible emotion into a visual concept.”

Fabian “How far to go! We had to fulfil the wishes of both gamers and the fans of our brand. As Porsche has a huge fanbase – especially in the racing world – you must build a bridge into the virtual realm. We wanted to stay as realistic as possible and implement the attributes we love from real cars – agility, speed around corners, and something that is full of fun. We wanted it to be a car you could step into no matter if you’re a racing pro or a new driver with little experience.” 
Man holding camera to face. Man working intently on sketch, model cars on desk
Designers Pegah and Fabian, alongside the whole team, achieved success through open-minded and honest collaboration
What was the key to such successful teamwork?Fabian “You need a trusting environment for people to be able to be honest with each other, and we are very proud to say that we have that. The other key is diversity. The more diverse the team is, the better the project is going to be. For example, when you have your first sketch of the basic idea, you start to look at it from every perspective. When you have a diverse team, that number of perspectives is maximised.” 

Salar “This very multi-disciplined and diverse team – including engineers for strong technical know-how – enabled us to make our concept car as authentic and technologically advanced as possible. Every member kept an open mind, considered all opinions, and was honest during the process.”
Driver helmet on Porsche Vision GT, man kneeling beside it
From an initial vision to the Vision GT: designer Salar Vakili alongside the tangible concept car
Why was it so important that the car was fully electric and used “vegan” materials?Salar “We believe that we can innovate and design our future without harming the environment and wasting our limited natural resources. With our first electric Taycan, we showed that sustainable innovation can be fun as well as emotional. So with the Porsche Vision GT we made an emotional sportscar using the most eco-friendly options available to us. For example, vegan materials for the seats have fantastic aesthetics and are extremely comfortable.”What was the feedback process like between the game designers and car designers? Fabian “We were totally on the same wavelength. Sending our work to Polyphony and then getting artwork back within weeks was amazing. Then when they added sounds, movement, and sequences in the game environments, it was just awesome. I can’t wait to drive, drift and push the Porsche Vision GT to its limits in the game.” How much do you think virtual cars will influence real cars of the future?Pegah “The real world is slowly going to be expanded by the virtual world. There will be exchanges between them and the virtual world will be an inspiration for the real one.”

Fabian “I think they have great potential. Back in the day, design had to follow function only. Today it also follows fiction. Those concepts have the freedom to push everything without the limitations related to test phases and budget. This gives us the freedom to create visions to trigger people to dispute those ideas. Hopefully the spark will catch fire. Dreams are the best fuel of all.”
Man touching wheel arch of the Porsche Vision GT
The dedicated team creating the Porsche Vision Gran Turismo put authenticity at the forefront
Is there any chance of it being able to race in real life?Fabian “For now, it will stay the unicorn it was meant to be – purely to be driven in the virtual world. However, the full-size models will be touring the world soon to allow everybody the chance see it.” What are your biggest learnings from the project, and what do you think the car’s success will look like?Salar “As a designer, you are in a constant learning process. This project was a great exercise for me to try to think differently. It has undoubtedly made me a better designer and intellectually more fit to design the sportscar of the future. The legacy of the Porsche Vision GT will be measured by the fans’ responses. If we manage to inspire them to dream, then the project was a success.”

Fabian “To me it is already a great success. My mind has been blown by people’s appreciation of it and I’m very interested to see how the gaming society will implement it in their culture, from mods to liveries. And maybe it will set one or two lap records in the world of virtual racing!”

Pegah “The process has taught me to be driven by dreams, that one should not restrict their imagination, and to use these kinds of projects as a source of inspiration and growth. The Porsche Vision GT truly has been a product of passion, creativity, skill, and dreams. This car has a soul, and people are going to feel that.”
Continue reading
Classic Porsche 911 behind Porsche Pepita Edition by Vitra chairs
What is the Porsche Pepita Edition by Vitra? Vitra for Porsche. Two brands passionate about design, craftsmanship and innovation – and now bringing a new dimension to classic designs Read more
Close-up of Porsche Pepita fabric on car seat
The story of the famous Porsche Pepita fabric It’s not just a celebrated Porsche design classic, it’s also one of the most famous patterns in the automotive world, with many decades of history. This is the story of the legendary Pepita fabric Read more
New Porsche crest 2023
The history of the Porsche logo and crest The Porsche logo is one of the world’s most recognisable brand identities. But did you know that the striking coat of arms first adorned a Porsche in 1952? This is its story Read more