Nissan GT academy comes to South Africa
SA’s best console racers to compete head-to-head for real-world racing opportunities
Nissan South Africa is proud to announce that the famous GT Academy is coming to local shores for the very first time. Following major success internationally, the adrenaline-filled programme makes its local debut after previous winners have made excellent progress in real-world racing series, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans spectacle.
The GT Academy, which sees PlayStation® console racers test their mettle in Nissan GT-R and 370Z vehicles in Gran Turismo® 5, is designed to shape and mould new racing talent from the finest that the virtual world has to offer. A collaboration between Nissan and PlayStation®, the GT Academy is now in its fourth year and has so far seen competitors from Europe, the United States and Russia contest for top honours.
The best racing simulator in the world
Created by Kazunori Yamauchi and franchised by Polyphony Digital Inc. in Japan, the Gran Turismo® franchise for Sony PlayStation® has seen over 60 million units shipped worldwide and is regarded the world over as the best racing simulator, ever.
Thanks to authentic graphics, a real-world physics engine and leading design, Gran Turismo® has not only found favour with racing gamers everywhere, but with automotive manufacturers too as a cutting-edge virtual showcase for their products.
Start your virtual engines
Comprising three stages which take place over several months, the GT Academy sees competitors begin with simple console-based racing challenges, progressing on to a fully-fledged race camp in England – with expert training from the likes of Johnny Herbert, Bas Leinders and René Arnoux, amongst others.
Stage one is the Gran Turismo® Qualification Demo, whereby hopeful gamers (open to anyone with a PlayStation® 3 and a valid South African driver’s license) compete online and at live racing events in order to qualify for the National Finals – a total of 24 South African qualifying finalists emerging by the end of 2012. The National Finals (stage two) then see all South African qualifiers whittled down to just eight finalists (joined by eight finalists from the Middle East), who progress on to stage three – the GT Academy Race Camp at Silverstone in the UK, where the Nissan 370Z and GT-R are on hand for real-world driving thrills. One winner will then emerge from the 16 finalists.
Through intense training and competition, the overall winner who emerges from the Camp, will move on to the Driver Development Programme (DDP) where they undergo an intense three-month driver training regime in order to qualify for an international racing license and the spectacular grand prize of competing in the Silverstone 24 Hours in 2014.
Past winners now tops in international motorsport
The GT Academy has shown such great success that previous winners have gone on to compete in the upper echelons of international motorsport. Spain’s Lucas Ordoñez (2008 GT Academy winner) is contesting the European Le Mans Series and took part at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the Greaves Motorsport LMP2 car (powered by Nissan), along with Frenchman Jordan Tresson (2010 winner) in the Signatech Nissan LMP2 car (who also competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship). The GT Academy’s 2011 winner, Jann Mardenborough (UK) currently competes in the British GT Championship and the Blancpain Endurance Series in a Nissan GT-R GT3 as well.
Nissan on top of innovation and excitement
Never before has an automotive manufacturer fused the worlds of virtual racing and real-life motorsport as successfully as Nissan and, thanks to the partnership between the brand and PlayStation® and the local enthusiasm for motorsport, South Africans can now also grasp this unique opportunity. With a wealth of local racing talent, Nissan SA is confident that the South African competitors will show their international counterparts exactly what they are made of.
“Nissan is thrilled about the launch of the GT Academy in South Africa,” says Gavin Rheeder, Senior Manager: Product Communications and Marketing at Nissan South Africa.
“It has been hugely successful in Europe and the United States and we are sure it will be just as successful in South Africa where we have both a passionate gaming community and a proud motorsport heritage. This unique partnership with PlayStation® provides us with an exciting brand platform which epitomises Nissan’s pay-off line of ‘Innovation that Excites’”, he concludes.
The GT Academy opens its virtual doors to gamers on 15 October 2012, with the selection of finalists taking place between 15 December 2012 and mid-January 2013. The top 24 – including those qualifiers who will progress on to Silverstone – will be announced at the end of January 2013.