SILVERSTONE, UK – The famous GT Academy Race Camp gets underway today at Silverstone Circuit in the UK, the Academy's traditional home. Over 765,000 people across Europe entered the fifth season of Nissan and PlayStation®'s innovative virtual-to-reality racing competition this year by proving their speed on a special demo of the highly anticipated Gran Turismo®6 game which launches on December 6, exclusively on PlayStation®3.
Now, after a variety of gaming, driving, fitness and media challenges at National Finals, only the best 42 have made it through to the European Final where they will take to a real-life track for the first time. Over the course of the week-long boot camp for aspiring racing drivers, the finalists are determined to prove that they have what it takes to follow in the footsteps of former GT Academy winners, Lucas Ordoñez, Jann Mardenborough and Wolfgang Reip, who are now NISMO Athletes racing for Nissan.
The 42 competitors will be divided into seven territory groups for this year's Race Camp, with the groups consisting of: France (6 contestants); Italy (6); UK (6); Spain (4) and Portugal (2); Belgium and Luxembourg (3) and Netherlands (3); Central Eastern Europe: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary (6); Nordic Europe: Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway (6).
Silverstone is a fitting location for Race Camp, with its top-class facilities and incredible racing pedigree; the first-ever Formula One world championship race was held there in 1950. Details of the seven-day Race Camp format will remain under wraps, but will include top-class race instruction in a variety of Nissans such as the innovative new NISMO cars, the Nissan Juke NISMO and 370Z NISMO, with on and off-track challenges designed to test the potential, skill, determination and speed of the competitors.
They will also face fitness and mental tests developed in the NISMO Lab and used to train Nissan's professional racing drivers, embracing NISMO's digital age performance by training the gamers with the same methods as Nissan's experienced racers. Demo code of the forthcoming Gran Turismo 6 game featuring Silverstone will also be used as part of the real world training.
A seasoned team of GT Academy instructors will put the 42 competitors through the grueling program of challenges in order to assess who has the most potential to make the switch from PlayStation's Gran Turismo® game to powerful Nissan sports cars such as the 370Z and GT-R. An impressive line-up of mentors with top-level racing experience will be on hand for each territory, to closely monitor the finalists and judge their performance in a series of eliminations throughout the week. The mentors include former Formula 1 drivers Johnny Herbert, René Arnoux and Antonio Liuzzi, NISMO Athletes Lucas Ordoñez, Jann Mardenborough, Wolfgang Reip and Alex Buncombe and touring car drivers Tim Coronel and Paul O'Neill.
By the last day of Race Camp (September 11), only one contestant from each territory group will remain. They will have one final chance to show their talent and commitment before the mentors and instructors make the ultimate decision on whom to crown European GT Academy Champion 2013.
The winner will hardly have time to catch his breath before he returns to Silverstone to embark on an in-depth Driver Development Program. This is one of the most sophisticated driving programs in the world and, as well as ensuring that he qualifies for an international race license in super-quick time, the DDP will prepare the victor for becoming a professional racing driver with Nissan in a GT3 Championship in 2014. The European champion will be joined by the winners of the German, Russian and U.S. Race Camps, which will take place at Silverstone throughout the rest of September.
About GT Academy
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 fifth year, GT Academy includes separate competitions for Europe (France, Italy, UK, Spain, Portugal, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg), Nordics (Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway) and CEE (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia), Germany, USA and Russia.
A free online Gran Turismo®6 GT Academy qualification demo is open to anyone with a PlayStation®3 to download (terms and conditions apply). The fastest gamers in each participating territory gain access to their region's National Final event. A number of competitors can also gain access via a series of Live Gran Turismo events organized locally. The National Finals add driving, fitness and a media element to the gaming.
From National Finals, the action moves to Silverstone for the legendary Race Camp, where the competitors are put through their paces on track in Nissan sports cars under the watchful eyes of high profile judges and mentors. One winner from each of Europe, USA, Russia and Germany will be invited to take part in the intensive Driver Development Program. They could qualify for an international race license and potentially join Nissan's elite NISMO athletes.
Previous winners of GT Academy are now regular racing drivers. In 2013, Lucas Ordoñez (Spain, winner in 2008) and Jann Mardenborough (UK, winner in 2011) competed in Le Mans 24 Hours in the Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan LMP2 car. The 2012 Champions, Mark Shulzhitskiy (Russia), Wolfgang Reip (Europe), Steve Doherty (USA) and Peter Pyzera (Germany) are competing in the Blancpain Endurance Series with the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN.
About the Gran Turismo® Franchise
Gran Turismo® celebrates 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 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®3 and PSPTM (PlayStation® Portable), 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®5, the latest iteration of the game, was released on November 24, 2010 and has sold 10 million units worldwide.
About Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), based in London, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and sales of PlayStation®2 (PS2®) computer entertainment system, PSPTM (PlayStation®Portable) handheld entertainment system, PlayStation®3 (PS3®) computer entertainment system, PlayStation®Vita (PS Vita) portable entertainment system, and PlayStation®Network software and hardware in 109 territories across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania. SCEE has revolutionized home entertainment since they launched PlayStation® in 1994. PS2® further enhances the PlayStation® legacy as the core of home networked entertainment. PSP® is a handheld entertainment system that allows users to enjoy 3D games with high-quality full-motion video and high-fidelity stereo audio. PS3® is an advanced computer system, incorporating the powerful Cell Broadband Engine and RSX processors. PS Vita is an ultimate portable entertainment system that offers a revolutionary combination of rich gaming and social connectivity within a real world context. SCEE also delivers the PlayStation® experience to open operating systems through PlayStation®Mobile, a cross device platform. 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.
PlayStation, PS4, PS3, PS2 and PSP are registered trademarks or 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 14,500 staff across locally based design, research & development, manufacturing, logistics and sales & marketing operations. Last year Nissan plants in the UK, Spain and Russia produced more than 695,000 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 Asian brand in Europe.
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