2014

Virtual Racers Go For Pro In The 2nd GT Academy National Finals Event Top 32 U.S. Finalists Beat Out a Field of nearly 400,000 Participants to Compete Friday and Saturday (July 13th and 14th) at San Diego Comic-Con 2012; "Racer X" Challenge To Add New Spin on Finals Event

FOSTER CITY, Calif., June 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA) and Polyphony Digital Inc., in collaboration with Nissan North America, revealed today that 32 contestants have qualified for the final gaming round of GT Academy 2012. By competing in online time trials, the 32 finalists with the fastest lap times in the U.S. are now one step closer to becoming a driver on a professional racing team.  The 32 finalists will take part in a live head-to-head competition at the GT Academy National Finals event on Friday and Saturday, July 13th and 14th, at the Jolt'n Joe's Gaslamp a short distance away from the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con. 

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120626/CL30959 )

Introducing a new twist in this year's competition, PlayStation and Nissan are backing up the "Victory Is Anyone's" messaging by allowing any gamer to show up and secure one spot in the National Finals to compete against the top 32 finalists. Anyone (pending eligibility) can register at the Oasis Bar inside the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown San Diego on Thursday, July 12th from 10am to 4pm PST and compete for top lap time in Gran Turismo® 5. The top competitor of the day will walk away with a one of a kind GT Academy 2012 designed – HumanRacing® GT Chassis equipped with the Thrustmaster T500RS wheel and pedal set.  Additionally, the winner will earn a 33rd spot in the Finals competition, becoming "Racer X" and earning a chance Friday morning July 13th to knock out and replace any of the top 32 finalists. 

Nearly 400,000 gaming and racing fans across the country competed in the online time trial events within GT Academy 2012 for a chance to make their dreams of becoming a race car driver with a professional team a reality. These National Finalists are an elite group of Gran Turismo players who possess truly amazing driving skill.  With GT Academy's high stakes, competition was fierce with as little as a few hundredths of a second being the only difference in competitors advancing in the competition or being eliminated. 

At the National Finals Event, the 33 contestants will be divided into individual groups and race in a series of live head-to-head races in Gran Turismo 5. Racing Nissan vehicles, each contestant will earn points based on the place they finish in. As race difficulty increases, the contestants with the fewest points at the end of each round will be eliminated until only 16 remain. These final 16 contestants will move on to Phase Two in GT Academy, taking the racers away from their PS3 consoles and onto the track, behind the wheel of real race cars, for a chance to become a professional race car driver and the official GT Academy winner for the U.S. The winner will have the opportunity to train with an elite racing team and will work towards a debut as part of a professional team. The competitors' road to victory will be documented in an innovative new series airing exclusively on Spike TV in late 2012. For full terms and conditions and more information about GT Academy please visit:
http://us.gran-turismo.com/us/

"GT Academy season one was a huge success, and based on the exponential increase of racers for season two, the excitement and enthusiasm for Gran Turismo has proven again to be extremely strong," said Asad Qizilbash, Senior Director, PlayStation Brand Marketing, SCEA.  "With the addition of the Racer X program in this year's competition, victory truly is anyone's to claim and we look forward to seeing these top Gran Turismo racers battle it out for a chance to become a pro race car driver."

"Nissan is delighted to again be an integral part of GT Academy. Combining gaming, branded entertainment and social media to put the steering wheel of Nissan vehicles into the hands of nearly 400,000 participants, we consider GT Academy to be a huge platform for our marketing efforts," said Vinay Shahani, Director of Marketing Communications for Nissan Americas.  "Last year's winner, Bryan Heitkotter, has notched two front-row qualifying spots and two top-ten finishes in three races this year in a Nissan 370Z, and we look forward to even more success at the track for Bryan and all future GT Academy winners."

Available only on PS3, Gran Turismo 5 features realistic driving physics and graphics that set new standards in the Gran Turismo franchise. Gran Turismo 5 will deliver the most realistic and comprehensive racing experience available, including more than 1,000 licensed cars, a Course Maker, and a robust online racing community. Additionally, Gran Turismo 5 integrates stereoscopic 3D technology, bringing a new layer of realism to racing fans. 

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

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. Visit www.gran-turismo.com for more info.

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, and 2012 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.

About Nissan

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second largest Japanese automotive company by volume, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan and is an integral pillar of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 248,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4.6 million vehicles in 2011. With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of fuel-efficient and low-emissions vehicles 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 European Car of the Year award.

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.  Follow us on Twitter @spiketvpr for the latest in breaking news updates, behind-the-scenes information and photos.

SOURCE Nissan North America



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