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Jun 06

Jun 06

Announcing the First US GT Academy Champion!

Brian Dunn's Avatar Posted by

Sr Product Marketing Manager, SIEA

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.


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

doodooshorts said:

June 6th, 10:08 am


NinjaNabs said:

June 6th, 10:09 am

@doodooshorts nice name 12 year old.

doodooshorts said:

June 6th, 10:11 am

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

moose7984 said:

June 6th, 10:11 am

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

chereb said:

June 6th, 10:13 am


marlyt said:

June 6th, 10:14 am

Dude, that’s awesome. Well done.

doodooshorts said:

June 6th, 10:14 am

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

JoeDuke4 said:

June 6th, 10:16 am


Sponge-worthy said:

June 6th, 10:16 am

Very cool

marlyt said:

June 6th, 10:17 am

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!

black-goldcity6 said:

June 6th, 10:19 am

USA USA USA!!!!!!!

K3ViNPwNz- said:

June 6th, 10:26 am

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

Kilvoctu said:

June 6th, 10:29 am

[@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.

K3ViNPwNz- said:

June 6th, 10:30 am

oh and nw they got mincecraft…big whoop

ChaseHammerJ said:

June 6th, 10:32 am

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

fine…give it to the #1 guy, sheesh.

BiroCola said:

June 6th, 10:42 am


poweredbyzen said:

June 6th, 11:06 am


DZ_Zeus said:

June 6th, 11:11 am

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

mcbuttz78 said:

June 6th, 11:14 am

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


June 6th, 11:18 am

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

zekececil14 said:

June 6th, 11:20 am

“Open to everyone, but don’t be a jerk. Comments are the lifeblood of the PlayStation.Blog, and we encourage you to keep the conversation going in a relevant, constructive way. Remember: no swearing, fighting, or using the comments section of this blog to be “first!” Think about what you’re saying before you press “Submit.” If you’d like to talk about something off topic, click here for our Forums, or here to submit a new idea.”

That was definitely not relevant or constructive.

zekececil14 said:

June 6th, 11:23 am


doodooshorts said:

June 6th, 11:27 am

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

doodooshorts said:

June 6th, 11:28 am


rmartinez10 said:

June 6th, 11:40 am

I think doodooshorts is a great username.

MUGEN02 said:

June 6th, 11:46 am

Still waiting for my free car!

TheBulletStuck said:

June 6th, 11:58 am

cool , I want that car haha

FIREKNIGHT2029 said:

June 6th, 12:06 pm

Congrats yo!

Deathspear666 said:

June 6th, 12:07 pm

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 :)

GTX_NQX said:

June 6th, 12:14 pm

Way to go Cuda!!

DA_808_KUSH said:

June 6th, 12:24 pm


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

alok893 said:

June 6th, 12:31 pm

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

lil_tripp said:

June 6th, 1:11 pm

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

Busca-Cabezas said:

June 6th, 1:21 pm

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

wowowowo1 said:

June 6th, 1:27 pm

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.

rustymike2 said:

June 6th, 1:35 pm

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

gatech2 said:

June 6th, 1:48 pm

good job

NinjaNabs said:

June 6th, 1:52 pm

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 (= .

LUGIEZ said:

June 6th, 4:08 pm

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

luvtoseek said:

June 6th, 5:01 pm

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

davidantx said:

June 6th, 5:31 pm

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 :)

JROD0823 said:

June 6th, 10:44 pm

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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