The fourth instalment of the highly acclaimed virtual-to-reality racing competition is open to anyone with a PlayStation3 console by simply downloading a free and brand-new GT Academy qualification challenge themed around the hugely popular Gran Turismo game.
With the ultimate racing prize at stake – an intensive driver development training programme that has helped turn previous winners into professional racing drivers with Nissan – a huge entry list is expected for this year’s competition.
All competitors need is access to a PS3TM connected to the internet and to be registered to the PlayStation Network. The eight-step online qualification format, developed especially by legendary Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi, will take gamers and motorsport fans on a fun and exciting journey.
The variety of challenges reflects the various driving skills required to master the fine art of becoming a professional racing driver.
Entrants have eight weeks to complete these adrenaline-fuelled driving contests, ranging from handling powerful Nissan rear-wheel-drive performance cars and mastering cornering techniques at high speeds, through to setting lap times in wet and challenging conditions.
Darren Cox, general manager, Nissan in Europe, said: ‘It is great to see a range of Nissan cars added to this year’s online qualification process, as well as new challenges that relate closely to GT Academy’s goal of turning PlayStation gamers into real racers.
‘In 2012 more people than ever before will have the opportunity to move from the virtual world to driving real Nissan cars at National Finals and then Race Camp. It is encouraging that they will be better prepared than ever before as a result of these new ‘‘virtual” qualification challenges.’
Demonstrating the success of GT Academy as a route into top-level motor sport, the previous winners – Lucas Ordoñez, Jordan Tresson, Jann Mardenborough and Bryan Heitkotter – are all competing in full race programmes for Nissan during 2012. Only one question remains: who will be the winner of this year’s GT Academy?