FRANKLIN, Tenn. –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, is announcing 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. The remaining episodes will air at the same time each Thursday night and will be available on the Nissan YouTube channel the following Monday. GT Academy will also be screened on MTV2, one week after the original airdate on SPIKE TV. For a preview, visit the GT Academy web site, GTAcademy.com.
In July, after three months of online competition, the top 32 out of 400,000 registered Gran Turismo online gamers, met at Comic-Con in San Diego to determine the 16 finalists for GT Academy. Over two days of virtual racing competition on identical gaming sleds, the fastest 16 were invited to the legendary Silverstone Racing complex in England to begin an intense boot camp that combined physical and psychological challenges in addition to on-track driving in a variety of performance vehicles.
The six-week GT Academy television series, hosted by ex-NFL player, Dhani Jones, will capture every challenge and all of the human drama of a very intense week. At the end of each episode, competitors' performances are evaluated and critiqued by pro racers Danny Sullivan, Maryeve Dufault and Boris Said. Those who don't make the cut go home. One winner emerges and remains in the U.K. to undergo intensive professional racing training that will qualify them to earn their international competition license.
"GT Academy is a program that we are really pleased to be a part of. It reinforces our values of excitement, innovation and performance above all else, while giving 16 people the opportunity to fulfill their dreams – and for one of them to potentially change their lives for good," said Jon Brancheau, VP Marketing, Nissan North America.
A new addition for season two is a second-screen experience, Pit Pass, which puts the viewer at the center of the action, making them feel more like a participant than a spectator. Building on the concept of "Victory Is Anyone's," viewers can visit GTAcademy.us via their smartphone or tablet devices while watching the show and enjoy access to exclusive segment-specific content while the show is playing on SPIKE TV, all via the browser and without needing to download an app. Each episode will have unique companion content, including video, interactive maps, polls, tutorials and fun facts, to drive deeper viewer engagement and inspire social media sharing. In addition, using Facebook Connect, the fan becomes the hero, enjoying the ability to create his/her own custom, adrenaline-charged GT Academy hot lap video, as well as immersing themselves in a rich, panoramic first person experience on the GT Academy website, optimized for the iPad and iPhone gyroscope technology.
The GT Academy concept has already proven successful. Both European and North American GT Academy competitions have produced race winners and top qualifiers in professional racing programs around the world. Europe's GT Academy Season One winner Lucas Ordóñez won the P2 Class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2011 in a Nissan-powered prototype, while a team of four GT Academy winners placed third-in-class in January at the 24 Hours of Dubai in a race-prepared Nissan 370Z.
The GT Academy program was developed by TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles and OMD. Critical Mass is responsible for the GT Academy website, Pit Pass second-screen experience and first-person Facebook video.
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