The GT Academy competition has attracted more than three million entries since its inception in 2008, with gamers and motor sport fans battling it out for the chance to become the next NISMO Athlete, one of the elite racing drivers competing for Nissan under the banner of its motor sport arm, NISMO.
Proof of the success of the virtual-to-reality competition can be seen in the stunning on-track results of its graduates. Briton Jann Mardenborough, a Le Mans 24-hour podium finisher, will compete in Formula One feeder series GP3 in 2014.
Meanwhile, inaugural winner, Spaniard Lucas Ordoñez takes his talents overseas in 2014 to race for NISMO in the competitive Japanese Super GT Championship.
Lucas and 2012 GT Academy champion Wolfgang Reip (Belgium) will also contest this summer’s Le Mans 24 Hour race in Nissan’s fascinating ZEOD RC ‘Garage 56′ entry.
Fuelled by this success, GT Academy’s global footprint continues to grow. Champions will be selected in 2014 from competitions in Europe, Germany, USA and a new International GT Academy comprising Australia, India, Middle East, Mexico and Thailand. After completing an intensive three-month Driver Development Programme, rated among the best in the world, the five global GT Academy 2014 champions will qualify for the ultimate prize – driving a Nissan in the gruelling Dubai 24-Hour race in January next year.
NISMO’s Global Head of Brand Marketing and Sales, Darren Cox, commented: ‘Nissan and NISMO are proud to launch the sixth instalment of GT Academy with our friends at PlayStation and Polyphony Digital.
‘Six years ago this innovative approach was seen as a risk, but it is now a firmly established route to professional motorsport.’
As well as entering GT Academy via Gran Turismo 6 for PlayStation®3, racing driver hopefuls can also get involved via a series of live events and for the first time, through a Facebook based challenge.