Remember last week, when we told you about the Gran Turismo fan who’s now driving for Red Bull Racing? Now that opportunity is headed Down Under, as Nissan and Sony Computer Entertainment Australia announce the GT Academy program is racing to Australian shores this year.
Rick Kelly, race driver and Commercial Director of the Nissan Motorsport V8 Supercars Team explains:
We tried a few different initiatives, but for us, GT Academy is exactly the opportunity we’ve been looking forward to. We’re quite excited to be involved from an Australian stand point and to give the young guys a chance at forging a genuine career in the sport.
Jump in and perform your best in a series of online time trials, behind the wheel of a number of virtual Nissan vehicles. Getting your name to the top of the PS3 leaderboard – and keeping it there – is just the beginning. The top 14 gamers and an additional 14 hand-picked from live challenges held at V8 Supercars Championship events and other public events around Australia – will be invited to the National Final held later in the year.
The top six drivers from at that show – will be sent off to represent Australia at an intense Race Camp competition, held at the UK’s classic Silverstone Circuit.
There will be 24 international hopefuls on the track all vying for a place in an intensive Driver Development Programme and given the chance to compete for Team Nissan at the Dubai 24 Hours.
Peter Jones, Managing Director and CEO of Nissan Motor Company Australia continues:
This ground-breaking talent search program has been hugely successful overseas. Now that it’s in Australia I can’t wait for it to unearth and develop our country’s next great motor racing star.
To recap just how successful the GT Academy has been? Inaugural winner Lucas Ordonez was a podium finisher at the Le Mans 24 hours in the LM P2 class in both 2011 and 2013, and became the Blancpain Endurance Series Pro-Am Champion last year. He’s now the subject of a new Hollywood film.
A third graduate – Wolfgang Reip – took part in the 2013 Bathurst 12 hour as part of the Nismo Athlete Global Team, alongside professional driver Rick Kelly.
For more details on when and how you’ll be able to join the Academy, hop over to the GT Academy Facebook page and stay tuned.