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GT Academy 2011: FAQs

Q. What is the GT Academy?
GT Academy, now in its third season, is a pan-European competition that unites the worlds of virtual and real-life racing to make the dreams of aspiring race drivers a reality. The competition will find the best Gran Turismo® 5 players from across the participating countries, test their skills at Race Camp and then train one winner to become a professional race car driver.

Q. Who can enter?
Full terms and conditions of entry are available on gran-turismo.com and these should be read thoroughly by all entrants.

Entrants must be aged at least 18 years old and be resident in one of the following 10 European countries: Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Netherlands. A separate GT Academy is also being run in the USA.

Entrants must have a valid driver's licence. Those who have an existing competition driving contract, or have previously held a National A or superior MSA racing license or equivalent, or competed in a national level Karting Championship for more than two full seasons, are not eligible to participate. Any entrant who made it to Silverstone in either of the previous GT Academy competitions (2008 or 2010) is also not eligible and will not be able to progress past the Time Trial stage of the  GT Academy 2011.

Those that make it to the Territory Finals are required to participate in a mandatory health screening for physical fitness and vision, and so all entrants must be in good general health in accordance with Motor Sports Association medical requirements.

Finally, in order to attend Race Camp, entrants will need to have a valid passport and be able to travel within the EU. They will also need to be able to be away from home for approximately one week.

Q. What are the various stages to the competition?
Stage One – Entrants will record laps on a time trial-based track which can be accessed through the Gran Turismo® 5 game once an entrant has registered on gran-turismo.com. A leaderboard for each participating territory will show entrants’ lap times.
Stage Two – The twenty eligible entrants who hold the fastest online lap times from each European territory group (plus up to four wildcard entries) will qualify for their Territory Final event.
Stage Three – Twelve finalists, two chosen from each of the Territory Finals events, will head to the world famous Silverstone circuit for the GT Academy Race Camp itself – a six-day, comprehensive race driver training school. They will have a chance to develop new driving skills in an array of Nissan cars, while also being judged on fitness and mental attitude.
Stage Four – The overall 2011 winner embarks on a UK-based intensive driving and racing programme in preparation to qualify for an international racing license.
Stage Five –The winner may be able to race in the prestigious Dubai 24 Hour International race in a fully-supported Nissan 370Z GT4 car.

Q. What are the timings for GT Academy 2011?
The online time trial phase starts on 4 March and continues until 23:59 on 17 April. Territory Finals will follow shortly afterwards with the Race Camp scheduled for June.

Q. What are the technical requirements for entering the GT Academy 2011 time trial?
All entrants will need to have a PlayStation®3 system, broadband and the game GT5. The following steps are then required:
•    Entrants need to have set up a PlayStation®Network (PSN) account
•    Entrants must register their personal details on gran-turismo.com
•    Entrants must boot up their copy of GT5, ensuring all the latest GT5 updates have been installed.
•    Provided an entrant is online, the GT Academy Time Trial will be available within the ‘Seasonal Events’ section of the game.

Q. How can entrant’s work out their ranking position within their territory?
They can view their own position on the leaderboard, as well as the fastest laps either in-game or on the rankings page on the official Gran Turismo website (gran-turismo.com).

Q. What are the time trial events like? Can you pick your own car?
The Nissan cars and the track used for the time trial are pre-determined so that it is the same for everyone. The 2011 time trial will be played out on a unique new track developed specifically in the innovative ‘Course Maker’ feature of the Gran Turismo® 5 game, by legendary creator Kazunori Yamauchi. The time trial will feature the stunning Nissan 370Z (Z34).

Q. How many times can people enter?
Once an entrant has accessed the time trial event, they can complete as many time trials as they want. Only an entrant’s best lap time will be posted to the rankings. If an entrant beats their previous best lap time, their new best lap time will be posted, which may move the entrant up in the rankings.

Q. How can contestants improve their lap times?
Entrants’ can improve through practice.

Another way to improve is to take advantage of the custom race lobbies in Gran Turismo® 5 which allows entrants to practice with friends and other players they meet online, sharing driving tips and techniques via voice chat. Entrants can use the in-game community features to communicate and set up times to meet and share tips.

The GT Academy Facebook page, www.facebook.com/GTAcademy, will have regular posts from some of the fastest out there and some GT Academy celebrities.

Q. What happens next to the winner of GT Academy?
The winner has to be prepared to make a major commitment to becoming a real racing driver. From the end of the Race Camp event in June, the winner will be based in the UK for approximately seven months in order to undertake an intensive race training programme. The winner will be housed at Silverstone Circuit and will be racing in UK national and club level races most weekends.

In January, 2012, the winner will fly to Dubai and may race in the Dubai International 24 Hours.

Q. What if an entrant has never raced a real car in their life?
That's not a problem. GT Academy is about finding the best of the best Gran Turismo® 5 players and turning him or her into a professional. As outlined in the terms and conditions, people with certain professional racing experience and qualifications are not eligible to participate. As long as the entrant can drive in Gran Turismo® 5, know how to drive a real car, and meet the other eligibility requirements, all they have to do is try their best.

Q. Can GT Academy be a realistic route into top-level motor sport?
Sony Computer Entertainment and Nissan posed the question - “can the world of virtual racing unearth a real racing talent?”  The success of the competition’s first two GT Academy winners demonstrated that this answer is a resounding “yes”.
Lucas Ordoñez, the Spanish winner of the first instalment in 2008, went on to finish second in the 2009 European GT4 Cup and fourth in 2010. Frenchman Jordan Tresson, the winner of last year’s GT Academy competition, finished equal fourth with Ordoñez in the GT4 series. Both racers are expected to announce new programmes for 2011 soon


News, views, fun, images and video about GT Academy 2011 can be found on various platforms including:

www.facebook.com/GTAcademy
www.twitter.com/GTAcademy
www.youtube.com/gtacademyEurope
www.flickr.com/photos/gtacademyeurope