ENTRY to the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy 2012 qualifying closed earlier this month after more than 830,000 people from the participating European countries had downloaded and played the online qualifying demo.
The demo, based on the hugely popular Gran Turismo5 game for PlayStation3, attracted the most entries from the UK (over 161,000) closely followed by France and Spain.
The qualifying demo made use of an array of virtual Nissan cars on a variety of circuits before culminating in a one-lap time trial using a Nissan 370Z on a new virtual version of the Twin Ring Motegi circuit.
The 16 fastest gamers from the UK and Ireland online time trial will join 16 Live Event Wild Card winners to take part in a National Final event at Silverstone Circuit (July 17 and 18), where they will face a combination of GT5 gaming challenges and real driving tests using the muscular Nissan 370Zs.
Six leading UK and Ireland candidates will then return to the home of British motorsport in August for the renowned International GT Academy Race Camp.
The leading UK and Ireland competitor will then battle it out against other European finalists to determine who will be crowned the 2012 GT Academy European Champion.
The overall winner then embarks on GT Academy’s comprehensive driver development programme to bring the virtual-to-reality champion up to international race licence standard and prepare them for their ultimate prize, a drive in the Dubai 24 Hour race in January, 2013 in a full race-spec Nissan 370Z GT4 car.
The innovative and comprehensive programme aims to make motorsport, traditionally difficult and expensive to pursue to international level, more accessible. The three previous GT Academy Europe champions all now compete with Nissan in top-level international motorsport.
Lucas Ordoñez (Spain, 2008/09 GT Academy champion) and Jordan Tresson (France, 2010 champion) both competed at the Le Mans 24 Hour race in Nissan-powered prototype cars earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Jann Mardenborough (UK, winner in 2011, pictured), won a round of the British GT Championship in the GT Academy Team RJN Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 car at Brands Hatch on June 24 and is also competing in the Blancpain Endurance Series in Europe.