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Jun 17, 2014 - 04:05 PM
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Qualifying Closes For This Year's Gamer-To-Racer GT Academy Competition
Posted by: newsla on Jun 17, 2014 - 03:55 PM
Sports Cars
Qualifying Closes For This Year's Gamer-To-Racer GT Academy Competition


The qualifying stage for the sixth season of the NISMO PlayStation® GT Academy has come to a close, with thousands of racing driver hopefuls across Europe entering the virtual-to-reality competition over the past eight weeks. Qualifying rounds were open on Gran Turismo®6, with 239,503 European gamers taking part with the ultimate aim of becoming the next GT Academy Champion, racing internationally with Nissan as a NISMO Athlete.

 

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The fastest qualifiers in each of the 12 participating European countries will now go on to their local National Final. Here they will be joined by winners from a number of ‘Live Events’ plus top gamers from the GT Academy Challenge on Facebook. The Facebook competition closed at the same time as the online Gran Turismo 6 qualifier, and the highest scorers in each country will now be contacted with an invitation to an exclusive local Gran Turismo gaming day where their PlayStation®3 skills will be put to the test. The top performers at these events will earn a place in their National Final.

The National Finals will see the gamers competing with each other on Gran Turismo 6, as well as being tested for fitness, personality and skill behind the wheel of a real Nissan NISMO performance car. The competitors who perform the best overall will be selected to represent their country at the European ‘Race Camp’ in July, to be held at Silverstone Circuit where their Formula One heroes will have raced only three weeks earlier.

At Race Camp, the PlayStation gamers will be put through a series of mental and fitness tests, as well as a series of NISMO-themed driving challenges designed to unearth the most talented racer under the watchful eye of experienced mentors and judges from the world of motorsport. At the end of the week, the gamer with the most racing potential will have the chance to become a GT Academy Champion and a NISMO Athlete, one of Nissan’s elite racing drivers. They will be rewarded with a comprehensive Driver Development Programme, culminating in the opportunity to race internationally for Nissan at the Dubai 24 Hours race in January 2015.

The success of the GT Academy Driver Development Programme can be seen just by looking at the entry list for last weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hour race. Four virtual-to-reality champions lined up to compete in this year’s Le Mans, with Jann Mardenborough and Mark Shulzhitskiy in the Nissan-powered OAK Racing LMP2 prototype and Lucas Ordoñez and Wolfgang Reip in the innovative Nissan ZEOD RC. Wolfie successfully completed the first ever all-electric lap of Le Mans in the ZEOD RC before bad luck befell the car in the first few laps of the race. Jann and Mark both had stand out performances, taking the lead of the LMP2 class and racing away from the pack until a technical issue halted their chances of standing on the top step of the podium. Despite this they still finished within the top ten overall, and fifth in class. Meanwhile, last year’s GT Academy champions are racing in the international Blancpain Endurance Series and have already scored their first win, fittingly at Silverstone!

NISMO’s Global Head of Brand, Marketing and Sales, Darren Cox, has been a driving force behind GT Academy since its inception. “The opportunities that have become available to the GT Academy champions through Nissan’s burgeoning motorsport programme means that the stakes are higher than ever. Everybody is now aware that GT Academy is no gimmick and that it is a genuine route into top-level racing. We need to use all of our experience to pick the best of the gamers to turn into a NISMO Athlete and I look forward to following their progress through National Finals and Race Camp. Our NISMO Athletes have achieved considerable racing success this year and so the standards are getting higher each year.”

Usama Al-Qassab, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s VP of Product Marketing, is also looking forward to watching the 2014 GT Academy season unfold. “The excitement of a new season of GT Academy never fades, as each year it is proved yet again that a PlayStation gamer can become a real racing driver, thanks to skills learnt on the virtual tracks of Gran Turismo. This year gamers had the chance to qualify for the competition in an ultra-realistic recreation of the very same GT-R NISMO GT3 car that the GT Academy winners get to race in international competition, so this time next year one of these gamers could be racing that car in real life! There is a danger in the sixth year of this competition that we become complacent about that fact, but we shouldn’t forget just how amazing this competition is.”

The 2014 GT Academy leaderboard showing the fastest times set during the Gran Turismo 6 qualifying rounds can be viewed on www.gran-turismo.com. It shows that PSN ID: Senna_IMMORTAL was the leading worldwide player from Brazil with a laptime of 2:14.083. The overall quickest lap across the European competition was set by Spanish gamer PSN ID vitoelchoco, who was fastest in the GT-R NISMO GT3 Team RJN '13 around the virtual Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Round 4. The fastest UK laptime was recorded by PSN ID Spurgy777 with a time of 2:14.559.

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