Buckle up, Gran Turismo fans – our annual GT Academy competition will return for a fifth season this year, and it’s set to be the biggest yet, with more countries than ever before participating.
Since it began in 2008, the acclaimed virtual-to-reality competition has attracted over two million entries, with gamers and motor sport fans battling it out in Gran Turismo for the chance to become real Nissan racing drivers. Six former winners of the competition, which now runs in Europe, the USA, Germany, Russia, the Middle East and South Africa, are now Nismo Athletes competing in top-level motor sport on behalf of Nissan.
Nissan’s Director of Global Motorsport, Darren Cox, revealed the plans for GT Academy 2013 today at the famous Silverstone Circuit, at the same event where Kazunori Yamauchi announced Gran Turismo 6.
“At its core GT Academy remains a highly-accessible route into professional motor racing for people who would otherwise not have the opportunity. Unearthing genuine driving talent from the world of gaming is a real example of digital age performance and the innovation for which Nissan is famous.
“We are predicting that more people than ever will enter the competition this year on the stunning new GT6 demo.”
Kazunori Yamauchi, President of developer Polyphony Digital, added: “GT Academy is a fitting platform for the Gran Turismo community to preview GT6 for the first time, as we aim to bring the worlds of virtual and reality closer than ever.
“We are very proud of this partnership with Nissan, and we have aimed to make a very appealing and accessible competition featuring a range of their cars. The challenges, even at this early stage of the competition, are designed to improve people’s race craft before they even make it to driving real cars.
“We have also incorporated the Silverstone circuit for the first time in Gran Turismo. This should ensure that competitors will arrive at Race Camp better prepared than ever.”
Winning GT Academy is a passport to a career in global motorsport, with Lucas Ordoñez (2008 winner) and Jann Mardenborough (2011 winner) racing at the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours for Nissan Nismo.
The latest graduates Wolfgang Reip from Belgium (European winner), Mark Shulzhitskiy (Russian winner), Steve Doherty (US winner) and Peter Pyzera (German winner) are currently competing in the Blancpain Endurance Series in a pair of Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 cars.
The format of GT Academy sees the fastest PlayStation gamers from each country join winners from a number of live events to compete in their respective National Finals. The action will then make the transition from the virtual world to real Nissan sports cars when the winners of each national competition are invited to take part in the intense international final at Silverstone Circuit, now the established home of the GT Academy Race Camp.
The winners of each of the GT Academy competitions will then be put through an intensive and thorough Driver Development Program, rated among the best in the world, in order to qualify for the ultimate competition prize – a full season racing a Nissan GT-R GT3 Nismo in a top-level championship.