• Mar 24, 2011
Of the more than 52,000 contestants who originally entered into the United States version of GT Academy, jointly hosted by Nissan and Sony, just 16 have advanced to the final competition being held in Silverstone in the United Kingdom. The top 32 virtual racers from the four U.S. regions descended on Orlando, Florida this week to go pixel-to-pixel for a spot among the sweet 16. But this is about more than just bragging rights. Those that made it into the final round will face a battery of new challenges, including physical fitness tests and evaluations behind the wheel of real-live race cars.

The top winner will have a shot at becoming a professional race car driver by joining a legitimate team, just like GT Academy Europe winner Lucas Ordonez. As you may recall, Ordonez and his team managed to finish second at the 12 Hours of Sebring with a Signatech Nissan LMP2 racer, and the 25-year-old Spaniard is headed to this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans for a shot at taking home the checkers at one of the world's most grueling race events.

Nissan and Sony are currently working up a reality TV show about the GT Academy's U.S. contestants. While the winner will be chosen after the throwdown in Sivlerstone this summer, look for the show to hit the airwaves this fall. Hit the jump for the full list of final contestants.

[Sources: Sony, Nissan, GTPlanet | Image: Zach Bowman/AOL]
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Christopher Roberts – Northeast
Andre Gomes – Northeast
Christopher Morton – Northeast
Kris Norris – Northeast
Gregory Russell – Northeast
Nick Fontana – Northeast
Bryan Heitkotter – West
Jason Miller – West
Phillip Arscott – West
Sean Johnston – West
John Wilding – Southeast
Rich Pratt – Southeast
Glenn McGee Howle – Southeast
Jose Cedeno – Southeast
Connor Clifford – Midwest
Steve Driscoll – Midwest


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  • 17 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      A few of them definitely look like they won't pass the physical test unless they put a lot of work in!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Am I the only one from Detroit that read the headline initially as Silverdome?


      hehe
      • 3 Years Ago
      These are the guys that always smoke you when you play online!

      Now I have a face to put against the tail lights lol

      Hats off to them!
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's pretty cool. Nerdy looking bunch though. I'd fit right in. :)
      • 3 Years Ago
      Whoa, Bryan Heitkotter! That guy was a former solo national champion driving who drives MR2s! He really knows how to drive cars fast but didn't know he played GT too. I got a ride for a fun run with him a couple years ago and it was pretty awesome. I guess real life speed can translate to racing games too.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have a feeling Treyarch is going to call me any day now and offer me a spot in the Green Berets, based on my kill/death ratio.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I used to work with one of the finalists. He can pedal a car around the track pretty well in real life, even if he doesn't look like a jock. I've seen him set FTD at an autocross in a Miata on all-season tires.
      • 3 Years Ago
      my jealousy knows no bounds...
      • 3 Years Ago
      On a very serious note, why haven't they done this in Australia, or even Australasia? I used to get into the top 20 in online races on my mates ps3 using the standard controller. Felt great considering most others in the top 50 or even 100 were using a steering wheel..
        • 3 Years Ago
        Australia and New Zealand were included in the 2010 international final, but unfortunately, you're not included in the current 'Europe only' one.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Bugger, wish I had known. Thanks :) I will await the next international one.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just because they can play the game well doesn't do squat for them in a real car.
        • 3 Years Ago
        One of them is an autocross national champion, and I'm certain he's not the only one with motorsport experience.
        • 3 Years Ago
        rc_car_nut: In Ordonez, you have tangible proof that your opinion is wrong, yet you still choose to keep it.

        I don't see how the Le Mans 24 hours is that much different from the Sebring 12 hours he just raced at. He has also raced two 24 hour races previously; in Dubai and at Spa Francochamps.

        Whilst actual track experience will be a big advantage to those competing at Silverstone, techniques and skills acquired from Gran Turismo are a great benefit to real world track driving, raising the ability of these guys above anyone with similar real world track experience (it also works the other way; most racing drivers tend to be reasonably handy at GT5, from what I've seen.) Ordonez has proved this more resoundingly than anyone else.

        I should also point out that I am speaking from personal experience, as I reached the 2010 GT Academy international final.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Didn't read the story did you?

        "As you may recall, Ordonez and his team managed to finish second at the 12 Hours of Sebring with a Signatech Nissan LMP2 racer, and the 25-year-old Spaniard is headed to this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans for a shot at taking home the checkers at one of the world's most grueling race events."

        Go away, troll.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Elmo

        Call me a troll if you like. It's just a game. We will see how Ordonez does in the 24hrs of Le Mans...... BTW I did read the article.... Didn't change my opinion "Just because they can play the game well doesn't do squat for them in a real car." However, it's just my opinion.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nerds, nerds, nerds, nerds!
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