Australia’s most enthusiastic and dedicated virtual racers will soon have the chance to participate in the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy program. Thanks to Nissan Motor Company Australia and Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCE Aust.), the competition will reach our shores this later year.
The nation’s top 14 Gran Turismo 6 players will be determined via recording a series of online time trials, only using specified Nissan models. An extra 14 gamers will qualify by proving their skill at different live events, one of which will take place at the V8 Supercars Championship. Those 28 will then advance to the National Final, where they must excel in special racing pods during a series of Gran Turismo 6 rounds, driving skill challenges in a real Nissan sports-car, a fitness challenge and a media test (sounds exhausting!) Only 6 will make it through to the Final Selection Round – an intense Race Camp competition held at the famous Silverstone Circuit. The finalists continue on to compete against 24 international hopefuls in on-track evaluations. The eventual winner of the International Final gets the opportunity to realise a dream and become a professional race driver, completing an intensive Driver Development Programme that aims to prepare them to represent Nissan at the Dubai 24 Hours.
GT Academy’s inaugural winner, Lucas Ordonez, has experienced unprecedented success since his victory. The Spaniard became the Blancpain Endurance Series Pro-Am champion in 2013 and was a podium finisher at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LM P2 class in both 2011 and 2013. Another GT Academy graduate, Wolfgang Reip, recently competed in Australia as part of the Nismo Athlete Global Team in the Bathurst 12 Hour alongside Nissan Motorsport driver Rick Kelly in a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 car. And just last week it was confirmed that yet another GT Academy graduate in 22-year-old Jann Mardenborough (who joined Ordonez on the LM P2 podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2013), will contest the GP3 Series with Arden International in 2014, while also joining an intensive driver development program with Infiniti Red Bull Racing, who are the most successful Formula One team in recent history.
Darren Cox, Global Motorsport Director, Nissan Motor Company, and Peter Jones, Managing Director & CEO, Nissan Motor Company Australia, spoke to the significance of this program and the place of motorsports in Australian culture;
GT Academy is getting huge international interest and the expansion of the programme to the Australian market is a great endorsement of that, especially given their impressive motorsport heritage and current V8 Supercars programme. – Darren Cox.
This ground-breaking talent search program has been hugely successful overseas. Now that it’s in Australia I can’t wait for it to unearth and develop our country’s next great motor racing star. – Peter Jones
For further updates and information, including scheduling and location details, keep an eye on the NISMO Australia Facebook page and the Nissan Australia website. Also check out the official Nissan PlayStation GT Academy trailer below.