Sony has officially announced Gran Turismo 6, the latest title in the company's long-running and hugely successful driving simulation series. During an event held at Silverstone on Wednesday, Kazunori Yamauchi, the creator of the series and CEO of developer Polyphony Digital, confirmed that the game would arrive on PlayStation 3 this autumn.

In a press release distributed today, Sony promised that the new title will bring "new levels of authenticity" to the scrupulously authentic racer. New cars and tracks are promised as well as a new interface and a 'compact engine' that will, "improve operation and increase the flexibility to expand it with downloadable content". The announcement also promises greater integration with smartphones and tablets as well as improved social and community features.

Since its arrival on the original PlayStation in 1997, Gran Turismo has been known for its realistic handling and large roster of accurately modeled vehicles. Gran Turismo 6 is set to feature 1200 cars from manufacturers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi and Bugatti. The line-up will combine historic models with exotic newcomers. Of the 33 circuits, seven are set to be brand new, including Silverstone.

One interesting new addition is the Course Maker mode, an updated version of the Gran Turismo 5 feature; this will allow players to generate new circuits for themselves using "several kilometres" of scenery. It's not yet clear whether this is a full track editor or a procedural map generation feature that automates the process.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, the Gran Turismo series has sold over 70m units, according to Sony. The arrival of a newcomer so later in the PS3's life cycle is an interesting move it had been expected that a new Gran Turismo title would arrive as a launch title for the PlayStation 4 console, which is also set to be launched this autumn. It could be that Sony is waiting to announce a next-gen conversion of Gran Turismo 6 until the E3 games conference in June.

The Guardian