Nissan, in collaboration with Sony Thai, has introduced the Nissan GT Academy in Thailand to encourage virtual racers to win the opportunity of gaining motorsport experience at an international level.
“Since its conception, Nissan GT Academy has been defying both common sense and motorsport tradition,” said Nissan Motor (Thailand) president Hiroyuki Yoshimoto. “The programme takes gamers who excel at PlayStation 3 Gran Turismo 6 (GT6TM) and turns them into professional drivers in a matter of months. With the launch of GT Academy in Thailand, Nissan encourages Thais to unlock their potential and achieve more by joining this exciting and innovative programme.”
In the first round of competition, Nissan GT Academy will recruit the top 28 Thai gamers from two channels: 14 from Nissan GT6TM Simulators and 14 from the PlayStation Network. Individuals can enter the competition by getting behind the wheel of a Nissan GT6TM Simulator at a Nissan GT Academy Live Event, being held at the Nissan booth at the Bangkok International Motor Show.
After the motor show, Nissan GT Academy will have a road show in Bangkok, Khon Kaen, Surat Thani and Chiang Mai from April 24 to June 15. The top 14 contestants who clock the fastest lap times in these four cities will be eligible to compete in the National Final, the first gateway to GT Academy’s International Race Camp.
To earn their grid position via the PlayStation Network from the comfort of their own homes, virtual racers need to demonstrate their skill and determination to keep their names at the top of the GT Academy leader board, and this is only possible by playing a special addition of Gran Turismo 6 on PlayStation 3. The nation’s top 14 virtual racers will be identified through a series of online time trials.
A special version of the game will be available for free download to GT6TM owners on a date to be announced soon. The top 28 gamers will be invited to compete at a live, two-day National Final on June 25-26 at the Bira Circuit International Pattaya, where they will lock horns in Nissan GT6TM Simulators. They will also need to complete driving skill challenges in the high-performance Nissan Pulsar DIG Turbo as well as a fitness challenge and a media test.
The top six performers in the final will then be invited to take part in the Final Selection Round – an intense Race Camp competition held at the famous Silverstone Circuit in the UK. At the International Race Camp, the six Thai finalists will compete against 24 international hopefuls. Their driving skills will be tested on the Formula One Silverstone motor racing circuit in Nismo-tuned Nissan 370Zs and GT-Rs.
Only one finalist out of six from Thailand will be chosen to go head to head against their peers from other countries, competing to become the GT Academy International winner. The winner will consequently get a chance to become a professional “Nismo Athlete” as he goes through an intensive Driver Development Programme to prepare to compete for Nissan at the Dubai 24 hours challenge in January 2015.
“Nissan is proud to launch the GT Academy in Thailand, our first country for the programme in the Asean region,” said Nissan Motor Corporation global motorsport director Darren Cox. “Now in its sixth year, the innovative GT Academy is gaining a large international following since its successful execution in Europe, Russia, the USA, the Middle East and South Africa. With the addition of GT Academy International – of which Thailand will be one of five markets – we have expanded the programme for 2014. This is a great endorsement of GT Academy’s increasing popularity worldwide. Nissan is an international company with global ambitions, and GT Academy reflects that.”
Nissan GT Academy is joined by Tor Sriachavanon Graves, a Thai professional racing driver – the second Thai in history to race at Le Mans 24 hours. He will play an important role as a mentor for the Thai contestants and be a judge at the International Race Camp.
“Nissan GT Academy is a great programme that offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for racing advocates to fulfill their dreams, racing the virtual track to win a chance to become a professional race car driver. This dream was realised by winners of the GT Academy in previous years, so you can do it too,” said Graves.