Aussie racing gamers will soon compete in the new FIA Certified Gran Turismo Championships on home turf, in front of a live audience, with the World Tour Sydney event firing up in February.
Established in 2018, the entirely virtual championship is run by Polyphony Digital – the Japanese studio responsible for the Sony PlayStation hit series Gran Turismo – and motorsport governing body FIA.
It follows the successful Nissan-sponsored GT Academy series that ran from 2008 to 2016, which saw Aussie gamer Joshua Muggleton reach the finals in 2014, before fellow Australian Matt Simmons took the top prize a year later. As part of the GT Academy program, that win gave Simmons a chance at real-life racing.
In 2020, the FIA Certified Gran Turismo Championships series enters its third year, with previous World Tour and Finals events held in Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Japan, the USA and Monaco.
The Sydney event, to be held on February 15 and 16 at Luna Park, will be the opening round of the 2020 season. It will host Gran Turismo Sport racers from Europe, North and South America, Asia and New Zealand – and, of course, Australia.
We'll be represented by 19-year-old Cody Nikola Latkovski, who finished second in both the Nations Cup and Manufacturer Series at the 2019 World Finals in Monaco.
Latkovski will be joined by fellow Aussies Matt Simmons and Adam Wilk, the latter a regular on the World Tour stage.
Announcing the event, Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi said: “I'm deeply moved to be able to host the FIA-Gran Turismo Championships in Australia. I felt from way back during the first Gran Turismo that Australia is home to some of the most passionate GT fans of the world. Australia is also a very forward thinking country that took notice of the Japanese sports car culture which ultimately led to the creation of Gran Turismo, with cars like the iconic Nissan GT-R, which even became a part of their own sports car culture.
“Not only that but the Bathurst (Mount Panorama) Circuit is one of the most unique tracks in the world, with its beautiful scenery and frighteningly difficult course lay out. I think it’s the robust car culture of Australia that nurtured fans of Gran Turismo over the last 20 years and led to the birth of top Gran Turismo athletes such as Cody Nikola Latkovski and Adam Wilk. I'm looking forward to seeing them perform well in this world class championship which is being held for the first time on their home turf.”
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