The lines between the real and the virtual are becoming ever blurred in motor sport, particularly since gamer-turned-racers like Lucas Ordóñez and Jann Mardenborough made their marks on the sport. Both drivers, along with several others, won Sony, Polyphony Digital and Nissan's Gran Turismo Academy competitions and have since competed in prestigious events like Le Mans.
Polyphony Digital has now signed an agreement with the FIA making several real-world tracks in Gran Turismo 6 FIA-certified—but the agreement doesn't stop there. The two organizations intend to launch an official FIA Online Championship in 2015. The end result of this, according to Polyphony and the FIA, is to offer "...the large number of Gran Turismo players and motorsport fans the opportunity to engage with real motorsport."
Beyond this it isn't clear what the championship will entail. Whether it means an FIA-sanctioned virtual championship, or further opportunities for gamers to reach real racing series like the FIA World Endurance Championship remains to be seen. FIA President Jean Todt adds that the two organizations will continue to "make motorsport more accessible to millions of fans that share a passion for racing."
We look forward to hearing further details of the partnership. But in the short term at least, it's good news for Gran Turismo fans too—giving the game's real-world circuits official backing and perhaps paving the way for more FIA-sanctioned circuits to appear in future updates to the game.