PS3 news: GT Academy roars back onto PS3

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Turn driving dreams into reality thanks to Nissan and PlayStation in the third edition of GT Academy.

Nissan in Europe and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) have joined forces to run a third instalment of the popular GT Academy in 2011. The competition unites the worlds of virtual and real racing, offering one lucky winner the chance to realise their dream of becoming a certified racing driver.

The virtual stage of GT Academy will be played out on the ultra-realistic Gran Turismo 5 on PlayStation 3, which has sold over three million copies to date in Europe since launching in November 2010. The stakes are high with places at the GT Academy Race Camp to play for and a fully supported drive in a Nissan 370Z GT4 car in the prestigious Dubai 24 Hour International race as the ultimate prize (terms and conditions apply).

GT Academy’s global footprint is growing as 2011 marks the third season of GT Academy in Europe, as well as the inaugural year in the USA.

This year’s European competition will run across 10 countries with the online time trials starting on 4 March 2011 and continuing until 17 April 2011. Leaderboards for each participating territory will highlight the fastest 20 racers who will proceed to a live territory final. Only two from each final will make it to the intensive six-day driver training Race Camp to run at the world-famous Silverstone circuit in England. The winner of Race Camp will continue to be trained in high performance Nissan race cars and compete in a series of national level races in order to qualify for an international race licence and an entry into the Dubai race.

Since the first GT Academy in 2008, the innovative competition has established itself as a credible route into top-end motor sport for Gran Turismo players. 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 2010’s GT Academy competition, finished equal fourth with Ordoñez in the GT4 series. Both racers are expected to announce new programmes for 2011 soon.

“In Gran Turismo 5 we continue to bring the worlds of real and virtual racing closer together and the GT Academy programme, in partnership with our friends at Nissan, perfectly illustrates this ambition,” explained Kazunori Yamauchi, the creator of the Gran Turismo series and president of developer Polyphony Digital. “GT Academy  is also a great showcase for the fact that GT5 will continue to offer players more than just the game they have bought. It fully utilises the online functionality of GT5 and highlights the community elements. I think that we shall see a lot of friends challenging each other to take part in GT Academy and seeing how good they are against others. I am sure that most people with an interest in motor sport have dreamt about having a go for real. The competition has already made that dream a reality for the previous two winners, so it is well worth entering – even if it is only your friends you want to beat!”

When the virtual racing stage of the game ends, the emphasis will shift to Nissan’s stunning sports cars with the 370Z and GT-R playing starring roles at the Silverstone Race Camp. “It has been a great pleasure for us to see so many of our cars recreated in stunning detail in Gran Turismo 5,” said Nissan International’s Vice President of Marketing, Vincent Wijnen. “But GT Academy is even more special as we watch the incredible progression of somebody racing our cars in the game to enjoying great success racing them at full speed on international race circuits. GT Academy has become a great grass roots mainstay of our international race programme and we enjoy the partnership with PlayStation very much.”

GT Academy in 2010 enjoyed enormous success with 1.2 million gamers taking part. The competition found a very high profile fan in judge, and former Formula One team boss, Eddie Jordan, who commented at the Silverstone event: “This has been extraordinary, I have been absolutely blown away. I could not believe that these gamers, with no experience of racing cars, could do this. They really are great drivers, all of them, and they can be rightly proud of what they have achieved. I know that they have all had an amazing experience that will stay with them forever.”

Residents from 10 European countries, combined into the following six regional groups, are eligible to take part in GT Academy 2011: Germany and Austria; France and Switzerland; UK and Ireland; Spain and Portugal; Italy; and, the Netherlands.

More details of the time trial phase of the European GT Academy will be released shortly, and players can register their interest and keep up to date with the latest developments by signing up to the GT Academy Facebook page at is updated frequently every day with the very latest Free PlayStation news.

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