NISSAN AND PLAYSTATION® ANNOUNCE BIGGEST EVER GT ACADEMY PROGRAMME
* Online competition phase to be run on exclusive Gran Turismo®6 demo
* Become the next ‘Nismo Athlete' to race for Nissan
London & Paris 15 May, 2013: Nissan and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe have revealed that the innovative GT Academy competition will return for a fifth season. GT Academy 2013 will be the biggest yet, with more countries than ever before participating and the online gaming element of the competition set to be run in July on a demo of the hotly-anticipated Gran Turismo®6 game exclusively on PlayStation®3.
Since its inception in 2008, the highly acclaimed virtual-to-reality competition has attracted over two million entries, with gamers and motor sport fans battling it out on Gran Turismo for the chance to become real Nissan racing drivers. Six former winners of the competition, which now runs in Europe, the USA, Germany, Russia, and the Middle East and South Africa, are now Nismo Athletes competing in top-level motor sport on behalf of Nissan.
Nissan's Director of Global Motorsport, Darren Cox, revealed the plans for GT Academy 2013 today. Speaking at the famous Silverstone Circuit, during an event at which the latest version of the famous Gran Turismo game was announced, he said: "Every year of GT Academy has provided excitement and firsts, and 2013 will be no exception. The selection process and Driver Development Programme are now so robust that we are turning out some genuinely fast racing drivers. At its core GT Academy remains a highly-accessible route into professional motor racing for people who would otherwise not have the opportunity. Unearthing genuine driving talent from the world of gaming is a real example of digital age performance and the innovation for which Nissan is famous. We are predicting that more people than ever will enter the competition this year on the stunning new GT6 demo."
Kazunori Yamauchi, President of Polyphony Digital, explained: "GT Academy is a fitting platform for the Gran Turismo community to preview GT6 for the first time, as we aim to bring the worlds of virtual and reality closer than ever. We are very proud of this partnership with Nissan, and we have aimed to make a very appealing and accessible competition featuring a range of their cars. The challenges, even at this early stage of the competition, are designed to improve people's race craft before they even make it to driving real cars. We have also incorporated the Silverstone circuit for the first time in Gran Turismo. This should ensure that competitors will arrive at Race Camp better prepared than ever."
With the online qualification rounds offering a sneak preview of GT6, and the Nismo athletes blazing a trail in motorsport - including Lucas Ordoñez (2008 winner) and Jann Mardenborough (2011 winner) racing at the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours for Nissan - the entry levels for this year's motorsport talent-spotting contest are expected to reach an all time high.
The format of GT Academy sees the fastest PlayStation gamers from each country join winners from a number of live events to compete in their respective National Finals. The action will then make the transition from the virtual world to real Nissan sports cars when the winners of each National competition are invited to take part in the intense international final at Silverstone Circuit, now the established home of the GT Academy Race Camp.
The winners of each of the GT Academy competitions will then be put through an incredibly intensive and thorough Driver Development Programme, rated among the best in the world, in order to qualify for the ultimate competition prize - a full season racing a Nissan GT-R GT3 Nismo in a top-level championship.
Details of how to enter GT Academy 2013 can be found on various platforms including: www.facebook.com/GTAcademy, http://eu.gran-turismo.com and www.twitter.com/GTAcademy.
About theGran Turismo® Franchise
Gran Turismo® celebrates its 15thanniversary in 2013, having first appeared internationally in 1998. The multi-award-winning franchise has been the most successful ever for PlayStation®, and in 2013 it also surpassed worldwide sales of 70 million units. Various iterations of Gran Turismo have been created for PlayStation® , PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®3 and PSP (PlayStation® Portable), and have always been regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulators ever created due to true-to-life graphics, authentic physics technology and design. Since the inception of Gran Turismo, famed creator Kazunori Yamauchi and Polyphony Digital Inc. in Japan have revolutionized the racing category as we know it today. His offerings provide the most realistic driving simulation in the industry and a unique medium for automotive manufacturers to showcase their products. Gran Turismo®5, the latest iteration of the game, was released on 24 November, 2010 and has sold 10 million units worldwide.
About Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), based in London, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and sales of PlayStation®3, PlayStation®2, PSPTM(PlayStation®Portable) and PlayStation®Network software and hardware in 99 territories across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania. SCEE also develops, publishes, markets and distributes entertainment software for these formats, and manages the third party licensing programs for the formats in these territories. Since the launch of PlayStation 3 in November 2006, 55.5 million units have been sold globally and continue to be sold at a record level. Maintaining its position as one of the most successful consumer electronic products in history, PlayStation 2 has sold over 153.6 million systems worldwide. Since its launch at the end of 2004, over 73 million PSPs have been sold globally, highlighting the importance of the portable entertainment market. With the huge increase in interest and accessibility of network applications and network gaming, more than 90 million accounts have registered to PlayStation Network, the free-to-access interactive environment, and over 1.91 billion items have been downloaded.
About Nissan in Europe
Nissan has one of the most comprehensive European presences of any overseas manufacturer, employing more than 14,500 staff across locally-based design, research & development, manufacturing, logistics and sales & marketing operations. Last year Nissan plants in the UK, Spain and Russia produced more than 695,000 vehicles including mini-MPVs, award-winning crossovers, SUVs and commercial vehicles. Nissan now offers 24 diverse and innovative products for sale in Europe today, and is positioned to become the number one Asian brand in Europe.
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