Gran Turismo 5If you've been a long-suffering-standing fan of Gran Turimso here in the U.S., you probably know all about the game franchise's GT Academy. The clever marketing ploy pitted European Gran Turismo fans against one another for a chance to hop behind the wheel of a real-life Nissan 350Z race car. Now it looks like American gamers will get the same chance. Nissan has announced that Sony is firing up the GT Academy in our neck of the woods. Racers will campaign various Nissan hardware in time trials, unlocking free content as they race.

Finally, the top 32 racers will compete live for just 16 slots in the finals. Those 16 gamers will go lock horns in a variety of competitions, including ones that involve hot-shoeing genuine Nissan 370Z and GT-R race cars around a track. Finally, the winner will have a chance to train with professional drivers and race as part of a professional team. Hit the jump to watch a video and for the full press release.

[Source: Nissan]





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ULTIMATE VIRTUAL TO REALITY RACING COMPETITION – GT ACADEMY – DEBUTS IN THE UNITED STATES

Sony Computer Entertainment America and Nissan North America Offer a Chance to Become a Pro Race Car Driver Beginning This Holiday Season

Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA) and Polyphony Digital Inc., in partnership with Nissan North America, announced today the opportunity of a lifetime for gaming and racing enthusiasts - the debut of the GT Academy in the U.S. Starting December 15th, fans can compete in Gran Turismo® 5 exclusively on the PlayStation®3 (PS3™) for a chance to make dreams of becoming a race driver with a professional team a reality. Registration for the GT Academy competition begins on December 1st, and fans who think they have what it takes can find more information about the program at: http://us.gran-turismo.com/.

GT Academy will challenge gamers and racing fans alike across the U.S. to compete in a series of online time trials in pre-selected Nissan vehicles in Gran Turismo 5. Throughout the course of the competition, participants will earn free digital content just for playing, as well as have an opportunity to win prizes for winning regional time trials. The top 32 virtual racers in the country will compete in the live national finals event scheduled for March 2011 to become one of 16 GT Academy finalists. The 16 finalists will compete against each other in a series of challenges, including behind the wheel of real Nissan race cars, for a chance to become a professional race car driver as the GT Academy winner for the U.S. The winner will have the opportunity to train with elite race car drivers at international tracks and race as part of a professional team.

Available only on PS3 on November 24, 2010, 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.

"With the upcoming launch of Gran Turismo 5, it's a very exciting time to team with Nissan to announce GT Academy," said Scott A. Steinberg, VP of Product Marketing, SCEA. "With the realistic racing experience that only Gran Turismo 5 provides, GT Academy will identify someone who truly has the skills to become a pro race car driver, providing the chance of a lifetime to win the ultimate prize."

"This is a great opportunity for Nissan to bring GT Academy to the U.S. and support the launch of Gran Turismo 5" said Jon Brancheau, Vice President Marketing, Nissan. "Gran Turismo 5 provides an amazingly realistic racing experience and we're taking that to the next level by putting 16 finalists behind the wheel of a Nissan race car with the chance to become a race driver with a professional team. Nissan vehicles are known for innovation and performance, so this is a perfect way to demonstrate and deliver on that promise."

The competitors' road to victory will be documented in a multi-episode reality show airing exclusively on SPEED channel in 2011. The reality show series will start filming in March 2011 from the GT Academy finals through training as a pro race driver.

The overall competition will run as follows:

Phase One
Racing enthusiasts will put their racing and gaming skills to the test as they compete in various regional online ladders playing Gran Turismo 5 on the PlayStation®Network. Finalists will then participate in a live head-to-head competition.

Phase Two
16 lucky finalists emerge from the live event and go behind the wheel of real cars, including the Nissan 370Z and GT-R, at a comprehensive GT Academy 'boot camp'. The 'boot camp' will be featured as part of a multi-episode reality show to air on SPEED.

Phase Three
The 2011 U.S. Winner will train to become a professional driver in preparation for competing as part of a professional team at a major race event.

For full terms and conditions and more information about GT Academy please visit: http://us.gran-turismo.com/us/