SILVERSTONE, UK – Miguel Faisca, a 24-year-old student from Lisboa, Portugal has been crowned the 2013 Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy European Champion. The super-fast Gran Turismo® gamer has proved over the past seven days at the GT Academy Race Camp at Silverstone to be equally quick in real-life Nissan NISMO sports cars. He will now undertake an intensive Driver Development Program to ready him for a full season's racing in 2014 in a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 - the stunning GT Academy prize.
Over 765,000 people from across Europe entered this year's GT Academy competition on a special demo of the forthcoming Gran Turismo®6 game for PlayStation®3. For the fifth installment of Race Camp, a record 42 gamers gathered at the UK's famous Silverstone Circuit to begin the process of turning them from virtual to real racers.
Guided by high profile judges and mentors, including former Formula One drivers Johnny Herbert, René Arnoux, Stefan Johansson and Vitantonio Liuzzi, the 42 were divided into seven territory groups. The fierce competition saw the field gradually reduced through a series of challenges that tested driving ability, fitness, attitude, psychological strength and potential.
For today's final day of Race Camp, only one competitor from each of the seven territory groups remained in contention. After repeating a 'benchmark' test first completed on day one on Silverstone's National Circuit in a 370Z NISMO, the competitors took to the track for practice and qualifying sessions in 370Z racecars. Coming from no real racing experience one week ago, the seven competitors had all completed a basic ARDS race license during their time at Race Camp as well as a number of challenges and coaching sessions to ready them to take to the track for a race off.
The rain started just as the two heats got under way. The top two finishers from each heat progressed to the final leaving Italian Minh Tuan Nguyen (23) and Jérémy Bouteloup (21) from France eliminated after heat one and Petr Doležal (26) from the Czech Republic after heat two. Lining up on the grid for a final race were Miguel, Romain Delva (21) from Belgium, Filip Larsson (19) Sweden and Adam Suswillo (21) from the UK. Romain started well and led the first of eight laps. However, on lap two he spun in the wet conditions allowing Miguel through. The Portuguese driver held on until the end despite a late charge by Adam Suswillo.
After a deliberation by the GT Academy judging panel, Miguel was announced as the Champion. He will return to Silverstone in October to begin his intensive training program alongside the winners of the German, Russian and USA Race Camps.
"I'm very proud," said a delighted Miguel. "I didn't expect to win this morning. I don't think I was one of the favorites. But I was feeling good with the car and the track and I quite like the rain conditions. I didn't get a good start and I was second. Once I got into the lead it was very difficult to keep it, but I am so happy. This is the start. It is going to be very hard work, but I can't wait to get going. Thanks to Nissan and PlayStation for this opportunity. It is fantastic to be the first Portuguese winner."
"This is the fifth GT Academy and we have come a long way since 2008," said Darren Cox, Nissan's Director of Global Motorsport. "All of the PlayStation gamers have come here better prepared than ever before and the competition is fierce. It is good to see, however, that at its core, GT Academy remains true to its principles. It is growing, developing and gaining credibility each year. It was very satisfying to see how our winner from last year [Wolfgang Reip] was here doing an amazing job as a mentor, showing how much he has grown as both a driver and personality, while our first winner Lucas [Ordoñez] has now mentored our new winner."
"It's very rewarding for anyone involved with Gran Turismo - including the community of fans - to watch GT Academy grow," added Nick Caplin, Head of Communications from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. "It's great to see that the finalists were able to be so quick in real Nissan racing cars at the beginning of the week and to be then involved in fantastic races by the end. Having a GT6 demo at Race Camp featuring the Silverstone circuit has also been a welcome addition and probably made the transition even easier. Congratulations to Miguel, we look forward to watching his progress as he begins his racing career with Nissan."
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.
More information about PlayStation products can be found at http://www.playstation.com.
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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