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SUCCESSFUL ‘GAMER-TO-RACER' GT ACADEMY PROGRAMME EXPANDS FOR 2012
New Series of Gran Turismo-based challenges will start the process on 1 May, 2012
A potential route into motor sport - GT Academy graduates compete at Le Mans
London & Paris 16 April, 2012: Nissan and PlayStation® have joined forces again to run the fourth year of the innovative GT Academy virtual-to-reality racing competition. While the four previous GT Academy graduates line up in top-level race series in 2012, the programme that set them on their path to motor sport fame has been expanded and will now incorporate four separate competitions covering Europe, Germany, USA and Russia.
Over 1.5 million hopefuls have tried out for the GT Academy since 2008, and graduates of the dreams-to-reality programme have so far netted a Le Mans 24 Hour podium and won the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and Blancpain Endurance Series. In January of this year an all-gamer line-up made history when they finished on the podium of the Dubai 24 hour race.
A brand-new gaming format for the European GT Academy will go live on 1 May, 2012 and remain open until 24 June. An eight-step qualification programme, that can be played online by anyone with a PlayStation®3, will use the best-selling Gran Turismo®5 as a base, but has been specially developed by the game's legendary creator, Kazunori Yamauchi.
The fastest PlayStation gamers from each country will join winners from a number of live events to compete in thrilling national finals in July. The action will then make the transition from the virtual world of PS3 to real Nissan sports cars when the winners of each National competition are invited to take part in the intense international Race Camp competition, which takes place at Silverstone Circuit in August.
The ultimate winners of each of the GT Academy competitions from Race Camp will then be put through an incredibly intensive and thorough Driver Development Programme to prepare them for the chance to take part in the challenging Dubai 24 Hours in January, 2013 - the ultimate competition prize.
GT Academy is now established as a potential route into top-level motor sport. Lucas Ordoñez (Spain, winner in 2008) took second place at the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hour race and will aim for one better this year racing alongside father-and-son pairing Alex and Martin Brundle. Lucas will also contest the full European Le Mans Series in the Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan LMP2 car. Jordan Tresson (France, winner in 2010) is racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours in the Signatech Nissan LMP2 car. Jann Mardenborough (UK, winner in 2011) is racing a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 in the Blancpain Endurance Series while his American counterpart, Bryan Heitkotter, will drive a Nissan 370Z Nismo RC in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series in the top GS (Grand Sport) class.
"Being able to use our GT Academy graduates in our ever-growing range of top-level motor sport activities is another example of Nissan's innovative approach to everything we do," explains Darren Cox, General Manager Nissan in Europe. "If we didn't believe in the drivers they wouldn't be in those seats, but GT Academy has exceeded our original expectations and each year has provided us with some outstanding driving talent. As our drivers continue to impress on a world stage, GT Academy continues to expand. I would urge anyone that feels they have the talent to get involved and give it a go. GT Academy is a real, credible and exciting route into motor sport that will not cost you anything thanks to our partnership with PlayStation®."
Kazunori Yamauchi, President of Polyphony Digital, adds: "It makes me very proud to see the graduates of the GT Academy racing around the world with Nissan. This year we are aiming to make GT Academy bigger and better than ever before and so I am creating a new series of driving challenges open to anyone with a PS3 (terms and conditions will apply). "You don't have to be an expert to have a go. Added to that, each country will host live GT Academy entry events to ensure that as many people as possible can enter the 2012 GT Academy".
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About GT Academy Europe
GT Academy is a collaboration between PlayStation® and Nissan that uses the virtual world of the Gran Turismo® game to unearth real-world racing talent. Now in its fourth year, GT Academy has been expanded to include separate competitions for Europe (UK & Ireland; France; Italy; Spain & Portugal; Benelux; Austria, Switzerland & Poland), Germany, USA and Russia.
Stage One (European GT Academy)
A bespoke, online GT Academy qualification will be open to anyone with a PlayStation®3 (terms and conditions apply), where the fastest 16 gamers in each participating territory may gain access to the National Finals. A maximum of 16 further competitors will also gain access to National Finals events via a series of Live Gran Turismo®5 events.
Stage Two (European GT Academy)
For GT Academy Europe, up to 32 qualifiers from ‘Stage One' will progress to each territory's National Final, where the top six will compete to progress to the GT Academy Race Camp at Silverstone.
Stage Three (European GT Academy)
In a new development for 2012, each territory ‘Race Camp' winner will have the opportunity to compete a national level race in a Nissan car.
One winner from the European GT Academy competition will be crowned 2012GT Academy Champion and will be invited to go through to the intensive Driver Development Programme for the chance to qualify for an international race licence in order to qualify for the chance to compete in the Dubai 24 Hour race in January 2013.
Previous GT Academy winners
Previous winners of GT Academy are now regular racing drivers. In 2012 Lucas Ordoñez (Spain, winner in 2008) is contesting the European Le Mans Series and Le Mans 24 Hours in the Greaves Motorsport Nissan-powered LMP2 car; Jordan Tresson (France, winner in 2010) is contesting the FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours in the Signatech Nissan LMP2 car; Jann Mardenborough (UK, winner in 2011) is racing a Nissan GT-R GT3 in the Blancpain Endurance Series.
News and views on GT Academy 2012 and the progress of all the GT Academy drivers can be followed on various platforms including: www.facebook.com/GTAcademy | www.twitter.com/GTAcademy | www.youtube.com/gtacademyeurope | www.flickr.com/photos/gtacademyeurope .
About the Gran Turismo® Franchise
With more than 60 million units shipped worldwide, the award-winning Gran Turismo® franchise for the PlayStation® , PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®3 and PSP (PlayStation® Portable) is regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulator ever created due to its true-to-life graphics, authentic physics technology and design. Since the inception of the Gran Turismo franchise, famed creator Kazunori Yamauchi and Polyphony Digital Inc. in Japan have revolutionised the racing category as we know it today. His offerings provide the most realistic driving simulation in the industry and a unique medium for automotive manufacturers to showcase their products.
Gran Turismo®5 was released on 24 November, 2010 and sold 5.5 million units worldwide in its first two weeks on sale. The ninth instalment of the world's best-selling racing franchise features a completely new physics engine for an improved feel for steering during turns and drifts, delivering a more intuitive driving experience than ever before. The game also features an impressive line-up of more than 1,000 licensed cars from the world's top manufacturers. Other innovative features include stereoscopic 3D support, real-time car damage, dynamic weather effects and a deep online and community feature set where players can race online with up to 16 competitors through PlayStation®Network. With the widest scope and depth of gameplay options in the Gran Turismo series, Gran Turismo 5 offers users an entertainment experience that is only possible on PS3
About Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), based in London, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and sales of PlayStation®3, PlayStation®2, PSPTM (PlayStation®Portable) and PlayStation®Network software and hardware in 99 territories across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania. SCEE also develops, publishes, markets and distributes entertainment software for these formats, and manages the third party licensing programs for the formats in these territories. Since the launch of PlayStation 3 in November 2006, 55.5 million units have been sold globally and continue to be sold at a record level. Maintaining its position as one of the most successful consumer electronic products in history, PlayStation 2 has sold over 153.6 million systems worldwide. Since its launch at the end of 2004, over 73 million PSPs have been sold globally, highlighting the importance of the portable entertainment market. With the huge increase in interest and accessibility of network applications and network gaming, more than 90 million accounts have registered to PlayStation Network, the free-to-access interactive environment, and over 1.91 billion items have been downloaded.
More information about PlayStation products can be found at http://www.playstation.com/.
PlayStation, the PlayStation logo are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. PS3 and PSP are trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
About Nissan in Europe
Nissan has one of the most comprehensive European presences of any overseas manufacturer, employing more than 12,500 staff across locally-based design, research & development, manufacturing, logistics and sales & marketing operations. Last year Nissan plants in the UK, Spain and Russia produced a range of vehicles including mini-MPVs, award-winning crossovers, SUVs and commercial vehicles. Nissan now offers 24 diverse and innovative products for sale in Europe today, and is positioned to become the number one Japanese brand in Europe.