FRANKLIN, Tenn., May 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Nissan Americas and Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC revealed that the groundbreaking GT Academy televised competition will return for a third season in North America. GT Academy 2013 will be the biggest yet, with more competitors than ever before anticipated. The preliminary online qualifying element of the competition will run from July 2 to July 30 on a demo of the just announced and all-new Gran Turismo®6 (GT6™) game exclusively on PlayStation®3. Pre-registration will be available June 11- July 2.
Since its inception in Europe in 2008, GT Academy's acclaimed virtual-to-reality competition has attracted over two million entries, with gamers and motor sport fans battling it out on Gran Turismo for the chance to become real Nissan racing drivers. For the past two years in North America, more than 450,000 online gamers have competed. Six former winners of the competition, which now runs globally in Europe, the USA, Germany, Russia, and the Middle East and South Africa, are now NISMO Athletes competing in top-level racing for Nissan.
Nissan's Director of Global Motorsport, Darren Cox, revealed the plans for GT Academy 2013 today. Speaking at the famous Silverstone Circuit, during an event at which the latest version of the famous Gran Turismo game was announced, he said: "Every year of GT Academy has provided excitement and firsts, and 2013 will be no exception. The selection process and Driver Development Program are now so robust that we are turning out some genuinely fast racing drivers. At its core GT Academy remains a highly-accessible route into professional motor racing for people who would otherwise not have the opportunity. Unearthing genuine driving talent from the world of gaming is a real example of digital age performance and the innovation for which Nissan is famous. We are predicting that more people than ever will enter the competition this year on the stunning new GT6 demo."
Kazunori Yamauchi, President of Polyphony Digital, explained: "GT Academy is a fitting platform for the Gran Turismo community to preview GT6 for the first time, as we aim to bring the worlds of virtual and reality closer than ever. We are very proud of this partnership with Nissan, and we have aimed to make a very appealing and accessible competition featuring a range of their cars. The challenges, even at this early stage of the competition, are designed to improve people's race craft before they even make it to driving real cars. We have also incorporated the Silverstone circuit for the first time in Gran Turismo. This should ensure that competitors will arrive at Race Camp better prepared than ever."
With the online qualification rounds offering a sneak preview of Gran Turismo 6, and the NISMO athletes blazing a trail in motorsports around the world – including Spaniard Lucas Ordonez (2008 winner) and England's Jann Mardenborough (2011 winner) racing at the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours for Nissan – this season sets the stage for the most talent-stacked competition ever. North America's 2012 champion Steve Doherty is competing in a Nissan GT-R in the Blancpain Endurance Series abroad. With that foundation of racing success, the entry levels for this year's video and on-track driving skills competition are expected to reach an all time high.
The format of GT Academy North America has the 32 fastest PlayStation gamers from across the continent compete in the National Finals at a location to be announced soon. Once 16 finalists advance, the action will then make the transition from the virtual world to real Nissan sports cars in the intense televised final at Silverstone Circuit, now the established home of the GT Academy Race Camp.
The winners of each of the GT Academy competitions will then be put through an incredibly intensive and thorough Driver Development Program, rated among the best in the world, in order to qualify for the ultimate competition prize - a full season racing a Nissan GT-R GT3 NISMO in a top-level championship.
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 PSP (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 in November, 2010 and has sold 10 million units worldwide.
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com, or visit the Americas media sites NissanNews.com and InfinitiNews.com.
About Sony Computer Entertainment America
Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC continues to redefine the entertainment lifestyle with its PlayStation® and PS one® game console, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) handheld entertainment system, the ground-breaking PlayStation®3 (PS3™) computer entertainment 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 San Mateo, Calif., Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC serves as headquarters for all North American operations.
Visit us on the Web at http://www.us.playstation.com.
SOURCE Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC