Nissan Readies GT Academy Program With Gran Turismo 5

  • February 18, 2011
Nissan's European marketing arm is launching its next iteration of GT Academy, a European program that gives top-notch virtual race car drivers the chance to become the real thing. Through a deal with London-based Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), Nissan's sports cars 370Z and GT-R are among the hundred or so models the automaker has in the game.

The third installment of the Gran Turismo game for PlayStation 3 has about a thousand or so models from an assortment of automakers. Sony says the new version of the game, which went on sale in November, sold 5.5 million units worldwide in its first two weeks on store shelves.

This year's European competition pits Gran Turismo 5 players across 10 countries against each other in the multi-player game, starting on March 4 and running through April 17. The fastest 20 virtual racers from six territories -- Germany and Austria; France and Switzerland; the UK and Ireland; Spain and Portugal; Italy; and the Netherlands will compete in a final race. Twelve finalists -- only two from each territory -- will then go to the six-day driver training Race Camp at the Silverstone circuit.



The winner will continue to be trained in high-performance versions of the Z and GT-R and compete in a series of national-level races in order to qualify for an international race license and an entry into the Dubai race.

The first GT Academy was in 2008. Lucas Ordoñez from Spain won that first game and finished second in the 2009 European GT4 Cup and fourth in 2010. Frenchman Jordan Tresson, the winner of last year's GT Academy competition, finished equal fourth with Ordoñez in the GT4 series.

Nissan, which last year sold 547,000 vehicles in 47 Western and Eastern Europe markets says last year 1.2 million gamers took part in the virtual portion of the competition.

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