The winner of the 2012 Nissan GT Academy's North American competition was recently revealed through the competition's television series, and now, the formerly unemployed 29-year-old mechanic is looking forward to his first pro race at the Dubai 24 Hour race on January 10.

This year's winner, Steve Doherty, beat out thouasands of other competitors including the top 16 finalists to win the chance to prove his racing mettle in the real world, against real pros.

"I knew I would never get another chance like this, so I tried to make the best of every day. All of the hard work and commitment has paid off in the biggest way possible, but there's much more work ahead," said Doherty in a release.

Much more work indeed. Turning a fast lap is one thing; doing it in traffic is another. Doing it around the clock, while preserving the race car and at the same time beating the opposition is yet another.

But if previous winners are any yardstick for Doherty's chances of success in his first race, this year's GT Academy winner is in good shape. Bryan Heitkotter, last year's winner, finished on the bottom step of the podium in class at the same race.

If you missed the GT Academy series, you can catch the first five of six total episodes here. If you missed the finale, you can watch it below.