The quest to find the next professional Nissan race car driver is underway. Today in Nashville, the top-20 U.S. GT Academy competitors battled side-by-side in Sony virtual challenges on Day 1 of the U.S. 2015 GT Academy Finals.
This week, Nashville, Tenn. plays host to the fifth-annual U.S. GT Academy Finals. Three months ago, over 40,000 video gamers across the United States embarked on their journey to become the next GT Academy Champion. This week, the top 20 virtual drivers will descend upon Nashville to compete in the U.S. Finals. Performance in virtual, physical and on-track competition will be evaluated, with the top six performers advancing to the global finals in the United Kingdom next month.
NISMO Athlete and 2014 Nissan GT Academy winner Nic Hammann kicks off his first racing season for Nissan in a big way, co-driving with Russian GT Academy champ Mark Shulzhitskiy in an RJN Nissan GT-R GT3 NISMO racer in the first-ever Blancpain Sprint Series event at Moscow Raceway in Russia July 3 to 4.
This is the weekend of the annual Le Mans 24 Hours race, a legendary event contested by big car brands and world-class racing drivers - and members of the public are being given the chance to find out what it’s like to drive there in the radical new Nissan GT-R LM NISMO racer. More than that, by entering the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy online competition, gamers could go on to become a racing driver for real. Four previous winners of the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy have been turned from gamers to racers by Nissan and are competing at Le Mans this weekend.
It's hard to believe, but until just a few years ago the only racing experience three of Nissan's GT-R LM NISMO drivers for Le Mans had was playing Gran Turismo on their PlayStations. Impossible? No – just the extraordinary virtual-to-reality phenomenon that is GT Academy.
GT Academy 2011 winner Jann Mardenborough has been announced as the 50th most marketable athlete in the world, joining a list of superstars such as soccer star Lionel Messi, sprinter Usain Bolt and F1 driver Lewis Hamilton.