SILVERSTONE, UK – Nissan GT Academy is back for a second season, seeking to determine which of America's best Gran Turismo® video gamers has what it takes to become a professional racing driver.
Nissan North America, in collaboration with Sony Computer Entertainment America and Polyphony Digital, has announced the first of six episodes to air on SPIKE TV beginning Thursday, November 1 at 11:30 p.m. Eastern/10.30 p.m. Central.
Below are profiles of the drivers who will compete in intense boot camp that combines physical and psychological challenges in addition to on-track driving in a variety of performance vehicles.
Name: Darwin Albano
Location: Temecula, CA
PlayStation ID: darweeze
After narrowly making it through the Finals, this UCSD finance graduate never thought he would have gotten this far. Now his dream job as a pro race car driver is within reach.
Name: Edward Gomez
Location: Las Vegas, NV
PlayStation ID: Wardez
A stage technician in Las Vegas, Ed's family has been in show business for 25 years. This year he hopes to find himself in the limelight, rather than just setting it up.
Name: Joe Alves
Location: Fountain Valley, CA
PlayStation ID: VELOCI_2NR
With 10,000 hours of GT 5 under his belt and his longest session lasting 17 hours, Joey is adept behind the wheel. But what happens when he takes it out of the game room and onto the track?
Name: Rees Gould
Location: Rancho Santa Fe, CA
PlayStation ID: Red Reevos
The oldest of the group with a GMAT score of 760 on his resume, Rees hopes his smarts will give him the edge at Silverstone.
Name: Nick Barbato
Location: Wethersfield, CT
PlayStation ID: Forcednduckshn
With a degree in mechanical engineering, an intense love of racing and a decent amount of track time, Nick feels he has everything it takes to go pro.
Name: Darren Guaio
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
PlayStation ID: TRC_HUNK
Remarkably, Darren says he qualified with only 10 hours of gaming. But with the kind of competition facing him at Silverstone, he can't afford to be complacent.
Name: Jett Chandler
Location: Salinas, CA
PlayStation ID: Jett_Racer
The son of a pro street bike racer, and having himself reached speeds of 198mph, you could say racing is in Jett's blood.
Name: Jeff Lund
Location: Apex, NC
PlayStation ID: redsoxboy80
Despite once flipping his car 3 times, pizza deliveryman Jeff Lund is still hoping to trade in his delivery wheels for a Nissan GT-R.
Name: Austin Cobb
Location: Mobile, AL
PlayStation ID: TRC_Scooty
An IT consultant and former Coastguard, happy-go-lucky Austin will race whatever "tintop" he can get himself into.
Name: Kyle Preston
Location: Redding, CA
PlayStation ID: A7XMaverick
With countless hours in his GT 5 sled, but hardly any time on a track, Kyle's greatest concern is making the transition from virtual to reality.
Name: Matthew Cresci
Location: Los Gatos, CA
PlayStation ID: Topgear3793
The youngest competitor in GT Academy this year, Matt is determined not to let his age stand in the way of his dream.
Name: Brian Rice
Location: The Colony, TX
PlayStation ID: TX_Driven3
Last year, Brian made it to the Finals but got disqualified. Now he's back to redeem himself. Will his determination and experience racing Legends cars in Texas be enough to win him a place on the GT world circuit?
Name: Stephen Diem
Location: Kailua, HI
PlayStation ID: S_Diem
Passionate about racing since he was a little boy, but with nowhere to race in his home state of Hawaii, Stephen is leaning hard on his cardio training.
Name: Eric Rivera
Location: Easton, PA
PlayStation ID: Redline gts
With zero track time and little fitness, Eric faces an uphill struggle. Maybe his racing mantra of 'go hard or go home' will carry him through.
Name: Steve Doherty
Location: Cherry Valley, IL
PlayStation ID: BICDRIVER49
Steve loves racing: he went to auto school, so he could work on cars, so he could race them. But will his passion for the track translate into real GT ability?
Name: Jeff Stuart
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
PlayStation ID: Rack Attack
A software engineer who placed 5th at Autocross Nationals last year, Jeff's hoping his track experience will put some distance between him and the other guys.
About Gran Turismo®
With more than 65 million units sold worldwide, the award-winning Gran Turismo® franchise for the PlayStation®, PlayStation® 2 and PLAYSTATION® 3 is regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulation ever created due to its true-to-life graphics, physics and real-life cars and tracks. Since the inception of the Gran Turismo franchise, famed creator Kazunori Yamauchi and Polyphony Digital Inc. in Japan have revolutionized the racing category as we know it today. His offerings provide the gamer with the most true-to-life driving simulation within the industry and a unique medium for automotive manufacturers to showcase their products.
About Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC
Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC continues to redefine the entertainment lifestyle with its PlayStation® and PS one® systems, the PlayStation® 2 system, the PSP® (PlayStation® Portable) system, the ground-breaking PlayStation® 3 (PS3™) system and its online and network services the PlayStation® Network and PlayStation® Store.
Recognized as the undisputed industry leader, Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC markets the PlayStation family of products and develops, publishes, markets, and distributes software for the PS one, PlayStation 2, PSP and PS3 systems for the North American market. Based in Foster City, California, Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC serves as headquarters for all North American operations and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Visit us on the Web at http://www.us.playstation.com
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 248,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4.8 million vehicles in 2011, generating revenue of 9.4 trillion yen ($118.95 billion US). With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of 64 models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. A pioneer in zero-emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades, including the prestigious 2011-2012 Car of the Year Japan and 2011 World Car of the Year awards.
For more information on our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit our website at http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/.
About Spike TV
Spike TV is available in 98.7 million homes and is a division of Viacom Media Networks. A unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), Viacom Media Networks is one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. Spike TV's Internet address is www.spike.com and for up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs, visit Spike TV's press site at http://www.spike.com/press.
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Motorsports PR Manager
Sr Director, Product Public Relations
Sony Computer Entertainment America
Worldwide PR & Communications Director