NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ladies and Gentlemen, start your PlayStation®3 consoles! About to begin its fifth season in the U.S., GT Academy boasts an impressive track record of racing achievement worldwide. From European champion Jann Mardenborough driving the GT-R LM NISMO at LeMans this June, to U.S. 2011 winner Bryan Heitkotter racing a Nissan GT-R GT3 in the Pirelli World Challenge, the program’s proof of success is evident around the world of motorsports.
Beginning at midnight tonight, the next gamer-to-professional-racer prospect will enter an online competition in Gran Turismo®6 (GT6™), the racing simulator on the PlayStation®3 (PS3™) system, racing virtually to become one of the 20 fastest gamers in the U.S. who will get a chance to attend the National Finals this summer. In a change from previous years, the U.S. will participate as part of the International competition in 2015 and as such, only the top six emerge from the National Finals to advance to the International Race Camp. There they will try to prove they are one of the best in the world, deserving of a shot at the dream job of a professional racing placement for Nissan.
All four Nissan GT Academy winners will see plenty of racing action this season. Bryan Heitkotter, the 2011 Champ, is racing the full 2015 season in the Always Evolving-GT Academy Nissan GT-R GT3 in the Pirelli World Challenge. Steven Doherty, Nick McMillen and Nic Hamman will divide time co-driving the #41 Doran Racing-GT Academy 370Z NISMO in IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series throughout this season.
“All of us at Nissan North America have been extremely impressed with the caliber of racing driver the GT Academy competition has produced,” said Rick Kulach, NNA Motorsports Manager. “Every one of them has been on a podium driving for Nissan, and they continue to learn the craft of racing while being great teammates and brand ambassadors for Nissan.”
“This is another exciting milestone year for GT Academy and a source of great pride for us,” explained Kazunori Yamauchi, president of Polyphony Digital and creator of the Gran Turismo series. “We have two GT Academy graduates racing in the top class at Le Mans and an ambitious program that will introduce new fans to Gran Turismo, as they test themselves to see if they have what it takes to follow in the footsteps of Jann Mardenborough, Lucas Ordoñez and the other NISMO Athletes. It is truly an incredible competition, and I would highly recommend that people have a go, whatever their level on the game.”
The checkered flag drops to end the online competition Tuesday, June 16 at 3:59 p.m. Eastern (12:59 p.m. Pacific). When the competition ends, eligible* competitors with the 20 fastest in-game race times in the GT6 qualifying challenge will earn invitations to the U.S. Finals in mid-July. From there, the best six advance to the International GT Academy Race Camp at Silverstone in the U.K. in August. You can witness the Nissan GT Academy experience firsthand by watching this electrifying video https://youtu.be/QSPJcbp9o7k. *Learn more about GT Academy at www.GTAcademyUSA.com.
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com, or visit the Americas media sites NissanNews.com and InfinitiNews.com.
For more information on our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit our website at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/.
About the Gran Turismo® Franchise
Gran Turismo® celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2013, having first appeared internationally in 1998. The multi-award-winning franchise has been the most successful ever for PlayStation®, and in 2013 it also surpassed worldwide sales of 70 million units. Various iterations of Gran Turismo have been created for PlayStation® , PlayStation®2, PlayStation®3 and PSP (PlayStation®Portable) systems, and have always been regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulators ever created due to true-to-life graphics, authentic physics technology and design. Since the inception of Gran Turismo, famed creator Kazunori Yamauchi and Polyphony Digital Inc. in Japan have revolutionized 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®6, the latest iteration of the game, was released on December 6, 2013.