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by George Skentzos

To coincide with the release of the online time trial version of the hotly anticipated racing sim, Gran Turismo 5, Nissan and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) have joined forces to bring gaming and motorsport together – and this time Australia and New Zealand will be involved.

With a season-long drive in a full race-spec Nissan 370Z in the European GT4 Cup at stake, drivers – or should that be players – need to set the fastest lap times in the virtual world before taking to the track for an intensive race training programme.

GT Academy 2010 is the second instalment of this unique competition, with Lucas Ordoñez, a 23-year-old Spanish student, taking out the first competition, earning him a drive for the RJN Motorsport GT Academy alongside the likes of former F1 driver Johnny Herbert.

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In the first stage of the 2010 competition, the 20 fastest online lap times from each participating country will qualify for their national final event where they will go head-to-head to reach the next stage of competition.

Then twenty finalists from around the globe will head to the Silverstone circuit for the GT Academy itself – a five-day, comprehensive race driver ‘boot camp’.

From here, two competitors will be chosen who display the talent, fitness, aptitude, drive and determination to succeed in motor sport to participate in an intensive driving and racing programme which will prepare them to qualify for an international racing license.

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Finally, only one will be chosen as the GT Academy 2010 champion to compete on the international stage with a full race season in the European GT4 Cup in a Nissan 370Z prepared by RJN Motorsport.

The GT Academy competition is open to participants from the following territories: Austria; Belgium; France; Germany; Ireland; Italy; Netherlands; Portugal; Spain; Switzerland; UK; and Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Also joining in will be Australia and New Zealand to make it a truly international promotion.

“The original GT Academy exceeded expectations. We did not expect to find a driver of Lucas’s calibre and it was a real bonus for the programme that we were able to help him demonstrate his potential over a full season with the European GT4 Cup drive. We are even more excited about GT Academy 2010, and I would encourage anyone who has ever wondered if they might have what it takes to be a racing driver to give it a go.” said Nissan International’s Vice-President of Marketing, Vincent Wijnen.

The online section of the game will run from 17 December until 24 January with national finals following soon afterwards.




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