Greg Stuart 04 May 2012

Think you could be a pro racing driver?

Then it's time fire up your PS3 – the Nissan GT Academy is open for entries

Nissan GT Academy

Do you spend your days sitting around in your underwear, driving forlornly around virtual racetracks, cursing your parents for not having had the sheer burning ambition to invest in your undeniable racing talent while you were growing up? (We don’t. No. Absolutely not.).

Well, here’s your chance to avenge your mum and dad’s lack of foresight. The GT Academy, Gran Turismo’s online competition to find gamers to mold into bona fide racing drivers, has been launched for 2012. Here’s how it works. Concentrate at the back.

Gran Turismo HQ release eight rounds of time trial events, in blocks of two, for gamers to progress through (Rounds 1 and 2 were released on Tuesday). Each round is divided up into five events, starting with challenges like, you know, driving around a small corner in Round One, Event One and going onto….well, they haven’t said yet. Drifting the entirety of Monaco? Driving round the Nürburgring’s Carousel backwards in a Morgan three-wheeler?

Rounds 1 – 7 are essentially practice time trials, allowing you to hone your cyber driving skills. Then in Round 8, Event 5 you plow all of those skills into one final challenge with the top 16 from each region of Great Britain going onto compete in the National Finals.

Finish in the top 6 of that, and you’ll be packed off to the Silverstone Race Camp to have your driving skill, physical fitness and mental strength tested, all overseen by ex-F1 ace Johnny Herbert.

And if you win that? Well, then you’ve hit the big time. You’re immediately enrolled into a Driver Development Programme to help you get your International Racing Licence. And then Nissan will consider you for a place in its driver line-up for the Dubai 24 Hours, in January 2013. And then you’ll be a racing God. The end.


If  you’re in any doubt about whether gamers can be turned into proper racers, don’t be. The Academy has previously launched the careers of several gamers-turned-pro-drivers who will be familiar to regular TopGear.commers, including last year’s British winner Jann Mardenborough and 2008 winner Lucas Ordóñez. Señor Ordóñez’s racing career thus far has been faintly staggering. In 2011, he finished 9th overall and 2nd in his class at the Le Mans 24hrs, and he can now be found piloting a fancy-looking Zytek in the European Le Mans Series, alongside Tom Kimber-Smith and Alex Brundle (yes, son of…).

Head this way for the details  and see if Santa should have brought you that go-kart for Christmas like you asked…    

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