Green Light for NISSAN PlayStation® GT Academy 2014 Season
Nissan and Sony Computer Entertainment have announced that the gamer-to-professional-racer competition – Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy – will return for a sixth installment in 2014. Canada* will participate as part of GT Academy for the first time in 2014. This will be the biggest year yet in its competition history, and online qualifying will begin on April 21, 2014 on the PlayStation® racing simulator, Gran Turismo®6, exclusively on the PlayStation®3 system.
The GT Academy competition has attracted nearly four million entries globally since its inception in 2008, with gamers and motorsports fans battling it out for the chance to become the next NISMO Athlete, one of the elite racing drivers competing for Nissan under NISMO, the company’s motorsports arm. Europe, North America (United States and Canada) and Germany will all select champions. After completing an intensive three-month driver development program that is rated among the best in the world, the 2014 GT Academy global champions will qualify for the ultimate prize – a spot on Nissan’s NISMO race team and the chance to prove that gamers can be elite racers by driving a Nissan in the grueling Dubai 24 Hour race next January.
Proof of the success of the virtual-to-reality competition can be seen in the stunning on-track results of its graduates.
Nissan North America Vice President of Marketing, Jon Brancheau, said, “The GT Academy concept has now been validated by the results of NISMO Athletes’ performance on the track worldwide. It’s a blast to see Gran Turismo 6 gamers driving Nissan performance cars in the game, while aspiring to race our real vehicles in this competition. Nissan’s partnership with PlayStation has been a very good one, and I look forward to seeing what the fourth year of GT Academy in North America will bring.”
2011 GT Academy North America winner Bryan Heitkotter has shown great promise, earning three pole positions, five front row qualifying spots and two podiums racing a Nissan 370Z® NISMO for Doran racing in the Continental Tire Challenge Series in IMSA. GT Academy 2012 champion Steve Doherty notched two podium finishes in seven starts driving a Nissan GT-R® in the Blancpain Endurance Series last year for RJN Motorsport. Last season’s GT Academy winner Nicholas McMillen is currently competing in the Blancpain Series and experienced his first start April 13 at Monza in Italy, helping his team earn an impressive fifth in class in their first Blancpain Series appearance. McMillen also brought the GT-R to second in class during his stint behind the wheel, demonstrating his ability to maneuver through the pack quickly.
"I am very proud that GT Academy has returned for its sixth season globally, and that Gran Turismo together with Nissan will once again serve as the platform for the development of new racing drivers who otherwise would not have had the chance to pursue their dreams,” said Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of Gran Turismo and President of Polyphony Digital Inc. “Even if you don’t make it through to the next round of GT Academy, the GT6 qualifying challenge will improve your skills as a driver and all players taking part will be rewarded with in-game credits to enhance their experience.”