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by Tim Beissmann

If your mother, girlfriend, wife (anyone who nags really) tells you that playing on the PlayStation won’t get you anywhere in life, get them to read this.

Daniel Holland is a 25-year-old student from Melbourne whose racing ability on the PS3 game Gran Turismo 5 has just earned him a trip to Silverstone, UK, to race for Australia and a shot at a professional, real-life championship drive.

Mr Holland has become the first Australian winner of Nissan GT Academy – an international competition spanning 17 countries where the virtual world of a racing game is used to find a real-world racing driver.

After consistently recording top-ranking lap times on the international leader board during the online time-trials and outperforming 15 other Australian finalists in another series of challenges in the second round, Mr Holland will travel to Silverstone at the end of the month for the final stages.

“I can’t believe that my passion for Gran Turismo has provided me with this opportunity,” he said.

“The fact that I’m now going Silverstone at the end of this month as the first Australian to take part in Nissan GT Academy blows my mind.”

Mr Holland will join other finalists from competing countries at the world-famous circuit for GT Academy – a five-day, comprehensive race driver “boot camp”. Participants will have the chance to develop new driving skills through a series of online and offline challenges that will include handling of Nissan cars. They will also be judged on physical fitness and mental aptitude.

The two finalists that display the talent, fitness, aptitude, drive and determination to succeed in motorsport will undergo a UK-based intensive driving and racing program to prepare them to qualify for an international racing license.

Finally, the driver with the most potential will compete on an international stage, racing a full season in the European GT4 Cup in a Nissan 370Z prepared by RJN Motorsport from May, 2010.

Sony Computer Entertainment Australia senior director of marketing, Raoul Bedford, congratulated Mr Holland and wished him all the best in the final stages of the competition.

“GT Academy epitomises the Sony ‘make.believe’ spirit, the power of turning dreams into reality.

“From enjoying Gran Turismo on PlayStation in your living room, to perfecting the ultimate simulator game and aspiring to become a real life race car driver, PlayStation and Nissan have given Daniel Holland the opportunity to fulfil his dream through GT Academy,” Mr Bedford said.

Daniel is aiming to follow in the footsteps of the competition’s inaugural winner, Spanish student Lucas Ordoñez, who graduated from his PS3 console to become a full-time racing driver via Nissan GT Academy last year.




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