The final round of the second season of the joint Nissan-PlayStation GT Academy North America is about to get underway, with the top 16 contenders from the thousands of entrants headed to the U.K. Silverstone racing circuit for an intensive week-long race camp and competition series.

Spike TV will air the week's trials and success this August. An expert panel of racing pros will evaluate the drivers' skills, judging their aptitude behind the wheel, in front of the camera, and in other regards key to the career of a modern racing driver.

The winner of the competition will get a sponsored ride for at least one race (yet to be named), with the driver's skill and performance determining future opportunities.

Last year's winner, Bryan Heitkotter, took a podium finish at the Dubai 24 Hours, and has also managed two top-10 finishes in the Continental Tires Challenge Series behind the wheel of a prepped Nissan 370Z.

Nissan is hopeful this year's competition will produce as good a result. "Last year's competition made for great television and produced a worthy winner who has done well racing Nissan vehicles," said Vinay Shahani, director of marketing communications for Nissan Americas. "We look forward to showcasing our vehicles' spirited driving experience and performance capabilities while making one determined gamer's racing dreams come true."

Whatever the outcome, however, the GT Academy series is a unique and exciting opportunity for regular Joes (and Janes) with the right set of skills to move up into the professional ranks.