With gamers turned racers taking podiums and points in series around the world at this point, it’s no wonder the Nissan GT Academy is coming back for a fifth season.
The timing of the announcement is certainly liable to get ganja-loving gamers winking and nodding at each other, but for those seeking a top spot in the competition—and a real shot at a professional race ride—it’s probably time to put the spliffs down for a while.
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Why? Because making it to the top of the GT Academy is anything but easy—even for the very talented. Thousands upon thousands worldwide will compete for the honor to race it out in real life as part of the final elimination process, which is also televised as a reality show. Just ask guys like Lucas Ordoñez, Jann Mardenborough, or Bryan Heitkotter.
This year’s rules are a bit different than past years’ shows, however.
The top 20 gamers from the U.S. will face off head-to-head in the virtual world at the National Finals, with the fastest six to race each other in real life at Silverstone to determine the U.S. winner, who will then go on to International Race Camp for a shot at a real Nissan Racing job.
A copy of Gran Turismo 6 and a Playstation 3 are all you need to get started, though dedicated racer/gamers often add a sophisticated driving wheel, pedals, and chair setup to get the most control possible.
"All of us at Nissan North America have been extremely impressed with the caliber of racing driver the GT Academy competition has produced," said Rick Kulach, NNA Motorsports Manager. "Every one of them has been on a podium driving for Nissan, and they continue to learn the craft of racing while being great teammates and brand ambassadors for Nissan."