Virtual racing experts will have the opportunity to fight for a place on Nissan’s prestigious GT Academy this summer and swap their PlayStation for a real-life GT sportscar, as the Japanese automotive manufacturer launches its 2018 talent contest.
Nissan’s GT Academy has been running for a decade now, placing over 20 drivers behind the wheel of race cars, a path previously reserved for those with large financial resources. One of the most successful graduates is Britain’s Jann Mardenborough, who used his talent and success to compete in the Formula 1-supporting GP2 championship and the Le Mans 24 Hour race.
This year’s finalists will win a trip to the NISMO Festival at the Fuji International Speedway in Japan and the Tokyo headquarters of Polyphony Digital, the developers behind the hugely successful Grand Turismo series, in which players compete for the academy.
Virtual racing has become so popular that motorsport’s governing body, the FIA has sanctioned the GT Sport championships from which the finalists will be selected. To qualify, players must select Nissan as their brand in each of the three FIA Manufacturers Series global regions of the Americas, Asia and Europe. The fastest gamer will win the trip to Japan, coaching from a Nissan/GT Academy mentor at the World Final and bespoke Nissan team clothing. European gamers can also compete in the Nissan Sport GT Cup provided that they also select Nissan as their brand of choice.
The Nissan GT Sport Cup competition also takes the top dozen Nissan drivers from June to August to the final round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, in which Nissan fields a GT Sport Motul Team RJN GT-R NISMO GT3 for Academy drivers Lucas Ordonez and Ricardo Sanchez. Taking place at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, a total of 36 gamers and 12 last-chance qualifiers will compete in the ultimate PlayStation GT Sport battle.
The top Nissan gamer in Europe this summer will also win a spot prize to attend a Nissan Training Camp at Silverstone circuit, earning real-life driving skills from mentors.
Nissan’s global motorsport director, Michael Carcamo said: “We proved with the Nissan GT Academy that some of the fastest drivers in the world might never have had the opportunity to compete on a race track if it weren’t for gaming. These guys have gone from the couch to the cockpit and broken the traditional model of how to become a successful racing driver.
“The level of competition is incredibly fierce, and we’re now seeing that online racing is not only an alternative to the real thing. To be recognized as an official FIA Manufacturers Series Champion through GT Sport is an incredible opportunity, and we’re looking forward to having some of the best gamers in the world represent Nissan.”
For more information, visit: www.nismo.com/nissangtsportcup