The UK’s three fastest virtual drivers hit the tarmac, facing real-life race conditions at the Silverstone Race Academy Starting on Wednesday 27th August 2008, the world of ultra-realistic virtual racing breaks through into reality as the GT Academy rolls onto Silverstone’s starting grid. For the first time in the competition, contestants will have to prove that their skills go beyond virtual driving in Gran Turismo 5 Prologue™.
Contestants will be getting behind the wheel of Nissan’s 350Z and GT-R to compete for the chance to be one of two drivers joining the Nissan racing team in the Dubai 24hr race in 2009. The three fastest virtual racing drivers from the UK, whose gaming skills got them past the competition on Gran Turismo 5 Prologue for PLAYSTATION®3, now face a gruelling set of challenges at the iconic Silverstone track in the driver’s seat of a Nissan GT-R.
With the top three drivers from each of 11 European countries competing, it’s time to see if these virtual race champions have what it takes to be professional drivers. The UK National Final of the GT Academy competition saw Matthew Gordon from Ipswich, John Cook from Tadworth and Mark Perry from Tamworth take top honours in a nail-biting gaming challenge hosted at this year’s British International Motor Show.
The trio will now face up to the other national finalists from France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, at an uncompromising five-day training camp at Silverstone Circuit. Not for the fainthearted, the training at Silverstone will be rigorous and unrelenting and will include fitness tests, media evaluation and, of course, numerous driving tests.
To be in with a chance to fulfil their racing dreams, drivers will need to measure up to all the expectations of a modern-day race driver – fit, quick to learn, media savvy and talented behind the wheel. At the end of the Silverstone academy, two drivers will be selected by a panel of Nissan racing team trainers to embark on four months of hardcore driver training at the Nissan Race Academy to earn their official racing licences and experience life as professional race car drivers.
“The GT Academy gives wannabe racing drivers the opportunity of a lifetime to realise their dream and we are looking for the best of the best. Our finalists have proven they have what it takes online. Now they need to impress me and my fellow judges with their real-life skills,” says Bob Neville of the Nissan Racing team. Matthew Gordon, a 25-year-old lawn maintenance manager from Ipswich said, “I have always been good at playing driving games, but I never believed I would get this far. I was nervous at the motor show but now I am just looking forward to getting in the Nissan GT-R which can reach speeds of 190mph.
“I have been into racing since I was ten, but I have never had the money to go and do it for real which is why this opportunity is fantastic.” Get ready for a week of high-adrenaline, high-octane racing in the competition that is the ultimate test of driving skills.