FOSTER CITY, Calif., March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA) and Polyphony Digital Inc., in collaboration with Nissan North America, revealed today the 32 contestants that have qualified for the final gaming round in Phase One of GT Academy. Finalists will race using select Nissan vehicles appearing in Gran Turismo® 5, available exclusively on the PlayStation®3 (PS3(tm)) system. By competing in online time trials, the finalists (eight per region) achieved the fastest lap times in the US and are now one step closer to becoming a driver on a professional racing team. The finalists will take part in a live head-to-head competition at the GT Academy National Finals event on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 22 & 23, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.
More than 53,000 gaming and racing fans across the country competed in the Round 1 online time trial events within Gran Turismo 5 for a chance to make their dreams of becoming a race car driver with a professional team a reality. The National finalists represent an elite group of Gran Turismo players who possess truly amazing driving skills. Competitors were separated by as little as a few hundredths of a second, which became the only difference whether they advanced in the competition.
"We are blown away by the passion and enthusiasm our fans have for GT Academy," said Scott A. Steinberg, Vice President, Product Marketing, SCEA. "Gran Turismo 5's attention to detail and realism are second to none, providing the most comprehensive racing experience available and serving as a key component to the GT Academy experience. We look forward to these top drivers competing for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become a pro race car driver."
"The response to GT Academy has been amazing," said Jon Brancheau, Vice President Marketing, Nissan. "Innovative promotions like this connect with our customers and reinforce our brand promise of performance and innovation. I'm looking forward to meeting the 32 finalists and experiencing the excitement of the head to head finals."
During the National Finals Event, the 32 contestants will be divided into groups of four and will 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. As race difficulty increases, contestants with the fewest points at the end of each round will be eliminated until 16 remain.
The 16 finalists will advance to Phase Two of GT Academy, where they will compete against each other in a series of challenges, going behind-the-wheel of real Nissan 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. For full terms and conditions and more information about GT Academy please visit: http://us.gran-turismo.com/us/
With features to suit newcomers, automotive enthusiasts and seasoned fans, Gran Turismo 5 has raised the bar on the franchise's quality of design, physics and technology, while delivering an ultra-realistic driving experience with unparalleled visuals and lifelike graphics that are difficult to distinguish from a live race. Gran Turismo 5 features a brand new physics engine for an improved and more realistic, and responsive, driving feel across the board, as well as real-time vehicle damage and wear, with adaptive and accurate car deformation based on point of impact and velocity.