FOSTER CITY, Calif., June 25th, 2012 – 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.
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 earn the 33rd spot in the National Finals competition, becoming “Racer X” where they will get the ultimate opportunity to knock out and replace any of the Top 32 finalists on Friday, July 13th. Additionally, Racer X will also walk away with a one of a kind GT Academy 2012 designed - HumanRacing® GT Chassis equipped with the Thrustmaster T500RS wheel and pedal set.
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:
“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 Guy Longworth, Senior Vice President, 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.