The Olympic Virtual and FIA Nations Cup champion within Gran Turismo, Valerio Gallo, remains a humble, charming, individual with his feet planted firmly on the ground.
Video games are the perfect escape from the typical.
Even the simple act of creating a little avatar that resembles our human self is incredibly satisfying. In fact, avatar me drives the coolest whips and sports a trendy hairstyle that the real me would somehow look ridiculous with.
Seeing my masterfully designed character living her best life within my preferred racing games makes me smile the cheesiest grin. It’s an added layer of the escapism I so deeply crave.
Now, imagine you didn’t even have to create your avatar, yet you’re already in the game.
For Valerio Gallo, that dream became a reality when Gran Turismo 7 included him as a rival player.
“When I think about it and when I also see myself racing, I don’t even think it’s myself. Like, who’s the real me?” Gallo joked on a recent Traxion.GG Podcast episode.
“Like the meme…the Spider-Man meme. ‘You. You. You’. I mean, man. It’s hilarious, but at the same time, it’s like I realized a dream since childhood. I switched from being a casual player of the game to being featured inside the game. That’s really insane.”
The FIA Nations Cup world champion has this infectiousness about him. There’s just something about Valerio Gallo.
Born and raised in Rome, the Italian says his life is a mix between Gran Turismo and the everyday. He spends a lot of time playing the series and has done so ever since the first hit the shelves.
“I remember having the old clips from my dad that I was playing Gran Turismo 2 when I was three years old. And in that clip, I was so infatuated by the game, even though I wasn’t… understanding what I was playing.”
As time went on, young Gallo developed a profound connection to that game.
“It’s the passion that has been transferred from my dad and it’s something that I will never abandon.”
That same enthusiasm for the Gran Turismo series has afforded Gallo many opportunities – including being the first Italian to win the Nations Cup – he’s extremely grateful to be afforded.
“There are no words for that,” Gallo reflected on his accomplishment. “For me, it was like winning, but winning with style.”
In fact, it’s still his pinned tweet on Twitter, that’s how meaningful the Nations Cup win is to him. #KeepItPinned
He’s racked up over 270,000 miles in GT Sport alone and has earned an A+ rating. For us regular folk, that’s pretty difficult to do. But the Roman did so in just five days. He’s just shy of the Level 50 milestone, though.
This is understandable, considering Gallo’s had his hands full with other things. Such as becoming an Olympic Virtual World Champion.
“It’s magical. The Olympics was for sure the most special event to race because obviously, it’s not like the traditional Gran Turismo championships. It was a good occasion to show our racing to all the fans, to all the motorsport fans. Even touching the Olympics for us is for sure a step in the right direction for… virtual motorsports, at least.”
With very little left to do in GT Sport, Gallo has shifted his focus to the latest release and spends his time racing against one of the toughest artificial intelligence to ever grace us with her presence: Sophy.
“When I started to race against the AI, I was expecting it to be so easy, like first try,” he said about his experience with Sophy. The AI is able to be pushed at its very limit. It’s revolutionary for Gran Turismo, for the Gran Turismo series.”
Gallo’s excitement for the future of racing games completely jumps off the screen while chatting with Thomas Harrison-Lord during our latest podcast episode.
He’s literally driven his way into the Gran Turismo franchise and is an inspiration to dreamers everywhere who hope to someday see themselves featured in their favourite video games, too.
Spider-Man meme style.
Listen to our podcast episode with Gran Turismo legend, Valerio Gallo, now and be sure to leave us a comment below on who you’d like to see join us on Traxion next!
Image source: Valerio Gallo