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Announcing the First US GT Academy Champion!

Brian Dunn's Avatar + Posted by Brian Dunn on Jun 06, 2011 // Associate Product Marketing Manager

For most people, video games are just a hobby, a way to do things they can’t do in real life. But with GT Academy, PlayStation, Gran Turismo, and Nissan have changed all that. Over 53,000 hopefuls competed in the GT Academy online time trials in Gran Turismo 5 this past December and January. Thirty-two of the best players in the country made it to the National Finals event in Orlando in March. And this past week, the 16 fastest and most promising racers were taken from virtual to reality when they took a trip over the Atlantic to compete at Silverstone Circuit in England. The stakes: a shot at becoming a professional race car driver.

Nissan Academy logo_3D_large

open wheelkart

Last week at Silverstone, the 16 finalists were put through their paces in a week’s worth of physical and mental endurance challenges, and of course, a host of driving challenges and short and endurance races behind the wheel of real race cars including Nissan 370Zs and GT-Rs. Closely watching over the finalists’ every braking point and turn of the wheel was an expert panel of racing industry veterans, judging skill, raw talent, potential, dedication, attitude and passion.

GTR

Although all 16 finalists were extremely talented, in the end there could be only one winner — one GT Academy champion. Yesterday, Bryan Heitkotter from California was crowned the first US winner of GT Academy. His raw talent, attitude, and the promise he showed the judges won him the podium in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Congratulations to Bryan Heitkotter, and his 15 competitors who gave it their all, on and off the track at Silverstone.

After a short trip home, Heitkotter will be headed back to England to start intensive training to learn everything he’ll need to know in order to perform at his potential during his debut, a grueling endurance race, as part of a racing team. And who knows, maybe he will follow in the footsteps of the 2008 European GT Academy winner Lucas Ordonez, who has turned his win into a full-fledged racing career. Ordonez has helped earn his team many podium finishes since he debuted, including the win that secured their spot at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race this coming weekend.

Lucas Ordonez and 2011 Nissan LMP2 car

Again, Sony, PlayStation, Gran Turismo, and Nissan congratulates Bryan Heitkotter for his brilliant performance at Silverstone, and all 15 of the other finalists who gave it their absolute best and showed that playing video games isn’t always a waste of time. We look forward to seeing how Heitkotter progresses during his training and does in his debut race.

Be sure to check watch the full competition in the GT Academy reality show, debuting this September on the Speed Channel and PlayStation Network. And you can visit the GT Academy page on Facebook now to see updates, pictures and videos straight from the event last week, and keep up with the latest news on Bryan Heitkotter and the GT Academy program.

//Add Your Own

42 Comments

1

+ doodooshorts on June 6th, 2011 at 10:08 am said:

congrats!!!!!


2

+ NinjaNabs on June 6th, 2011 at 10:09 am said:

@doodooshorts nice name 12 year old.


3

+ doodooshorts on June 6th, 2011 at 10:11 am said:

gotta be overwhelming…..going from your couch to the track. it must be a friggin blast


4

+ moose7984 on June 6th, 2011 at 10:11 am said:

hes only champion cause i didnt compete! but he has 2 defend it eventually and i dont want u ducking me, champ.


5

+ chereb on June 6th, 2011 at 10:13 am said:

congrats!!


6

+ marlyt on June 6th, 2011 at 10:14 am said:

Dude, that’s awesome. Well done.


7

+ doodooshorts on June 6th, 2011 at 10:14 am said:

ok “nancy” ninjanabs…..ill be 12….go eat poo


8

+ JoeDuke4 on June 6th, 2011 at 10:16 am said:

Insane.


9

+ Sponge-worthy on June 6th, 2011 at 10:16 am said:

Very cool


10

+ marlyt on June 6th, 2011 at 10:17 am said:

Hey PS, please keep us posted on when we can watch him race. I want to see him drive and I know other non-jealous people want to also. Post it Yo!


11

+ black-goldcity6 on June 6th, 2011 at 10:19 am said:

USA USA USA!!!!!!!


12

+ K3ViNPwNz- on June 6th, 2011 at 10:26 am said:

lol microsoft conference sucks so far…all they got it gears of war 3,and halo remake xD


13

+ Kilvoctu on June 6th, 2011 at 10:29 am said:

[@doodooshorts] “nancy ninjanabs”? Ha. It amuses me when someone grasps so hard for a comeback after being attacked by another user and fails. It almost allows me to visibly see the simple thought process of their mind struggling to create the weak retort.

Well anyway, congratulations to Bryan on his win. I couldn’t even get out of the first round.


14

+ K3ViNPwNz- on June 6th, 2011 at 10:30 am said:

oh and nw they got mincecraft…big whoop


15

+ ChaseHammerJ on June 6th, 2011 at 10:32 am said:

i was in the top 10000, here is my prize?

fine…give it to the #1 guy, sheesh.


16

+ BiroCola on June 6th, 2011 at 10:42 am said:

DRIVING GAMES SUCK BALLZ


17

+ poweredbyzen on June 6th, 2011 at 11:06 am said:

yawn…


18

+ DZ_Zeus on June 6th, 2011 at 11:11 am said:

Great Job!!! Awesome Opportunity!!! I hope he does well and I wish him all the success in the world.


19

+ mcbuttz78 on June 6th, 2011 at 11:14 am said:

. So does this mean he will a get super car licence like Mike andretti?? Congrats ..


20

+ ICU-KILLA on June 6th, 2011 at 11:18 am said:

i was trying to get there but glad Sony came make thins like this happen keep it up.


21

+ zekececil14 on June 6th, 2011 at 11:20 am said:

@2
Comments
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That was definitely not relevant or constructive.


22

+ zekececil14 on June 6th, 2011 at 11:23 am said:

SONY HOW COULD YOU LET MINECRAFT FALL INTO THE DARK HANDS OF MICRO$OFT?!!!!!!!!!!!!


23

+ doodooshorts on June 6th, 2011 at 11:27 am said:

@13 hey kilvoctu……look into the nancy ninjanab reference…..you wouldnt be so smug if you got the reference genious


24

+ doodooshorts on June 6th, 2011 at 11:28 am said:

*genius


25

+ rmartinez10 on June 6th, 2011 at 11:40 am said:

I think doodooshorts is a great username.


26

+ MUGEN02 on June 6th, 2011 at 11:46 am said:

Still waiting for my free car!


27

+ TheBulletStuck on June 6th, 2011 at 11:58 am said:

cool , I want that car haha


28

+ FIREKNIGHT2029 on June 6th, 2011 at 12:06 pm said:

Congrats yo!


29

+ Deathspear666 on June 6th, 2011 at 12:07 pm said:

Congrats!!!…I was watching the 360 press on G4 and damn did they fail lol All they really focused on was the Kinect and all they really showed was what looked like to me was Wii style crap lmao…A remake of Halo lol oh and Halo 4 looking like Dead Space..Gears the only thing worth a damn coming to M$…Sony is gonna rock it tonight :)


30

+ GTX_NQX on June 6th, 2011 at 12:14 pm said:

Way to go Cuda!!


31

+ DA_808_KUSH on June 6th, 2011 at 12:24 pm said:

@NinjaNabs

Leave the boy alone, he hasn’t done anything to irritate you in anyway i don’t see why you have to take your anger out on somebody else, it’s called “go see a consoler”

and Gratz to the england dude who won the race out of 15 finalist


32

+ alok893 on June 6th, 2011 at 12:31 pm said:

Congrats Bryan Heitkotter.I envy you.Good luck in your career.


33

+ lil_tripp on June 6th, 2011 at 1:11 pm said:

I don’t know were to put it but WE NEED NFL STREET 3


34

+ Busca-Cabezas on June 6th, 2011 at 1:21 pm said:

Sweeeeeeeet!! CONGRATS!! Woot Woot!!! LOL! :P


35

+ wowowowo1 on June 6th, 2011 at 1:27 pm said:

thats a big jump playstation gaming to real racing and if you crash in in real life you could die unlike a video game….LOL….I would screw up so bad.


36

+ rustymike2 on June 6th, 2011 at 1:35 pm said:

GOOD JOB Bryon!!!
Good luck in the upcoming events!!!


37

+ gatech2 on June 6th, 2011 at 1:48 pm said:

good job


38

+ NinjaNabs on June 6th, 2011 at 1:52 pm said:

i loled at people who replied to me with anger.i also had angry people spam me on psn and send me messages cause of this.i guess my trolling worked (= .


39

+ LUGIEZ on June 6th, 2011 at 4:08 pm said:

Well done man, did something I wanted to do, but couldn’t! haha great job man!


40

+ luvtoseek on June 6th, 2011 at 5:01 pm said:

GJ Brian! Can we get an interview w/ him?


41

+ davidantx on June 6th, 2011 at 5:31 pm said:

Champion Motorsports, one of the primary sim racing communities that Bryan races in online would like to congratulate him on this awesome accomplishment!!!! Come check us out at http://cmsracing.com :)


42

+ JROD0823 on June 6th, 2011 at 10:44 pm said:

I don’t understand why my other comment was removed. I didn’t swear, or speak ill of anyone that didn’t deserve it, all I did was point out the cold, hard truth. That truth being that this contest was a total farce from the beginning because I believe almost no one, if any at all legitimately qualified for round 2 on their own driving merit, and absolutely no one qualified for round 3 period because they were all caught cheating (TWICE!) by cutting corners and whatnot. If you don’t believe me, Polyphony’s very own website says as much in plain English. So that makes Bryan’s win genuine in name’s sake only, and all of those that were a part of the competition beyond the first round should be ashamed of themselves for trying to win something underhandedly and one especially so for actually getting away with it. Moderate that tactful comment, Sony. :P


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