We've known that Gran Turismo 5 would feature robust online functionality for some time now. There will be race support for up to 16 players publicly, but we haven't heard much about how your online experience will be facilitated. We know a bit more now that Polyphony Digital's Kazunori Yamauchi took the time out to explain how some of this will work at E3 this week.
The My Home concept has always been in game since the very first title. Gran Turismo 5 is mostly the same, but now you're connected online. In the online section there's a GT Live tab that corresponds to the GT mode in past editions. We saw a bit of the game status screen in Home mode. Aside from seeing your own trophies and times, you can also monitor the progress of your friends here.
My Lounge is a unique feature to GT5. Here you can gather information, drive and communicate with others. You can race or watch people race; it's a lot of useful online-based features integrated into one area. Every player has their own lounge. Under Profile you can quickly see your stats, trophies and money. Populated by your PlayStation Network friends list, your friends show up as icons on the side of the screen, letting you freely select to compare stats.
In My Lounge people on your friends list can freely join your lounge to play in it. Players currently in races are listed here automatically, and you can watch on as a spectator as they race, waiting your turn to get in the action.. Chat messages appear on the left; you can write here and even read messages while you're driving. Yamauchi says that the idea behind this one-screen online mode can be compared to going to a popular race circuit with friends, kicking back to watch and chat about a race.