Virtua Racers: from bedroom to track
Five years ago, Lucas Ordóñez was playing console games. This year he came third at Le Mans. Welcome to GT Academy...
Posted: 15 Nov 2013
There is a general feeling amongst the non-gaming fraternity that all videogame enthusiasts are fat, chip-eating, socially backward stay-at-homes with nothing better to do than level up.
But Sony and Nissan decided to put this to the test. Their ground-breaking joint venture – GT Academy – was designed to throw up actual, proper racing drivers from the ranks of the greasy fingered. It’s an innovative scheme that sounds lightly comical when you break it down: gamers race against each other on Gran Turismo to find the quickest virtual racers, who are then whittled down to a select few to learn how to race in real life. The winner gets a race seat. Simple. From sofa dweller to race-winning legend in a few, not-so-easy steps.
But, insane as it sounds, it’s actually thrown up some of the finest racers of our modern era: four men who between them have finished up winning GT3 championships and ended up on the podium at Le Mans. World of Warcraft, this is not. An TG has been following their progress with great interest. So, without further ceremony, let’s meet the winners…
Words / interviews: Vijay Pattni