Halliday to appear on Nissan GT Academy judging panel

Liz Halliday, the most successful female driver in American Le Mans Series history, will make her debut as an “expert judge” on GT Academy USA this Tuesday (September 20) as the five-part SPEED television series begins its quest to turn one online gamer’s virtual racing dream into reality.The California-born, British-based dual sportswoman, who has also contested the world famous Le Mans 24 Hours on three occasions, joined former Indycar champion and 1985 Indianapolis 500 winner Danny Sullivan, as well as Tommy Kendall – a four time Trans-Am Series title winner turned broadcaster – on the panel at Silverstone, home of the British Grand Prix, back in June.Together they assessed the merits of 16 USA finalists who had seen off nearly 54,000 other applicants over three stages of Gran Turismo® 5, the PlayStation® 3 game widely regarded as the world’s most authentic virtual racing simulation.Each finalist was judged on their natural skill, performance and overall aptitude for the requirements of a professional racing driver behind the wheel of a variety of cars in real-world conditions during the gruelling week-long assessment process.Having seen off stiff opposition, the overall winner now begins the hard journey towards becoming a professional racing driver in the hope of emulating Spain’s Lucas Ordoñez who made his Le Mans 24 Hours debut this year after being crowned European GT Academy champion in 2008.Liz Halliday: “It’s a big honour for me to have been selected for the GT Academy USA expert panel alongside two legends of American motorsport, especially as we have now helped to ignite one man’s future racing career. We’ve seen with Lucas in Europe that a talented virtual racer also has the potential to become an excellent professional driver in the real world. To step from virtual simulation to Le Mans 24 Hours in just over three years is an unbelievable achievement and one that our winner will be hoping to emulate one day. Their life is about to change forever and I’m really excited to be a part of that.”The five-part series directed by Jeff Zwart through @radical.media will be broadcast on the SPEED channel across North America from tomorrow (Tuesday September 20) at 22:00 ET and 19:00 PT, as well as on the PlayStation® 3 network. For full listings, visit speedtv.com/schedule and search ‘GT Academy USA’.