With qualifying stage for the 6th season of NISMO PlayStation GT Academy having ended, race driver hopefuls globally participated in the virtual-to-reality competition. Over the last 8 weeks, qualifications were through Gran Turismo 6 behind the GT-R NISMO GT3 car and 239503 European gamers enrolled as hopefuls to be the next GT Academy Champion. Fastest qualifiers in each of the 12 participating European countries go to the local National Final.
Winners from ‘Live Events’ and top gamers from GT Academy Challenge on Facebook will join in too. Highest scorers in each country will be invited to an exclusive local Gran Turismo gaming day, and top performers at these events earn a place in their National Final.
National Finals see gamers being tested for fitness, personality and skill behind the Nissan NISMO performance car. Overall best performers represent their country at the European ‘Race Camp’ in July at Silverstone Circuit.
PlayStation gamers being put through tests, and NISMO-themed driving challenges under the watch of experienced mentors and judges at Race Camp. After a week of training, the gamer with most racing potential gets a chance to become a GT Academy Champion and a NISMO Athlete rewarded with a comprehensive Driver Development Programme and an opportunity to race for Nissan at the Dubai 24 Hours race in January 2015.
GT Academy Driver Development Programme has left nostone upturned to put gamer turned racers through the pace. Le Mans 24 Hours last weekend saw 4 virtual-to-reality champions race. Jann Mardenborough and Mark Shulzhitskiy in Nissan-powered OAK Racing LMP2 prototype and Lucas Ordonez and Wolfgang Reip in the Nissan ZEOD RC. Reip completed the 1st ever all-electric lap of Le Mans in the ZEOD RC.
Earlier this year Nissan GT Academy U.S. champions Bryan Heitkotter and Steve Doherty got behind the Nissan Altima for 2014 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSCC) racing season in the No. 34 Street Touring (ST) class CA Sport/Skullcandy machine. Nissan GT Academy Team RJN last month celebrated their Pro-Am race victory at Silverstone in the Blancpain Endurance Series. The No. 80 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 of 2013 GT Academy USA winner Nick McMillenand 2013 German winner Florian Strauss teamed with Nissan regular Alex Buncombe to take home max points for RJN. Since 2008 thus far, 15 gamers (NISMO athletes) have made the shift to motorsports.