Bryan Heitkotter is living every Gran Turismo player's dream: he won GT Academy in 2011 and is now a race car driver for Nissan. He battles it out in a Nissan 370Z endurance race car across the globe. Last week we were fortunate enough to sit shotgun in a 2013 Nissan GT-R Black Edition for a hot lap around Road America with Bryan.
Bryan told us about how a mere year ago he was an unemployed parts delivery guy who was just sitting at home playing Gran Turismo 5. He decided to enter Nissan/Playstation's GT Academy video game driving contest as he had the time on his hands. His dream: become a race car driver. His goal would be to follow in the footsteps of the original GT Academy winner, Lucas Ordonez.
After beating the other finalists, Bryan was shipped off to Europe for six months for a driver development program. He told us this included coaching on driving, diet, and exercise. In his words, "the experience was intense." He also mentioned how he was lucky he didn't have a girlfriend at the time as he isn't sure what would've happened.
After spending time with Bryan, we can tell how fortunate he feels to be able to live his dream. In less than a year he's gone from being unemployed to being a race car driver for Nissan.
Bryan is only 30 years old and has already taken the podium in Dubai. Taking to the track for a 24-hour race in Dubai is a dream come true for Heitkotter.
So what's the lesson here? Well, when your mother tells you to quit playing those video games because you'll never get anywhere in life, just tell her, "Mom, because race car."
Be sure to watch the video of us blasting around Road America in the 2013 Nissan GT-R with Bryan, and tell us in the comments below if you think you have what it takes to be a race car driver.