GT Academy

Nissan North America and Sony Computer Entertainment America to Build on Success of GT Academy in Second U.S. Season on Spike TV

Non-scripted TV Series Airs on Spike TV, Sony to Offer Free GT Academy 2012 Demo to Gamers

Nissan North America (NNA) will again partner with Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA) and Polyphony Digital Inc. for a second season of the popular non-scripted TV series GT Academy in the U.S., airing on Spike TV network later this year.

GT Academy challenges gamers and racing fans to compete in a series of online time trials in pre-selected Nissan vehicles for a shot at becoming a real racing driver. Last year's competition drew over 53,000 competitors nationwide, with 30-year old Californian Bryan Heitkotter emerging as the winner. Heitkotter has gone on to compete in races for Nissan in the United States, Middle East and Europe.

"Nissan GT Academy is a truly unique opportunity," says 2011 champion Heikotter. "For me traveling and racing around the world has been an amazing, life changing experience so far, and I know we can achieve even more."

This year's competition promises to reach a much larger gaming audience, as prospective players can download the Sony GT Academy 2012 demo free online via the PlayStation Network (PSN) starting today.
Registration for the GT Academy competition runs from June 11-24 for those who think they can compete for one of the top 32 spots in the finals, to be held in July. From there, the top 16 players in the country will move on to the GT Academy "boot camp," where they will face a week-long series of grueling physical and mental challenges, including getting behind the wheel of actual Nissan cars to prove their driving skills. Along the way, participants will be eliminated until only one remains. The competitors' road to victory will be documented in a multi-episode reality show airing exclusively on Spike TV in late 2012.

Kazunori Yamauchi, President of Polyphony Digital, adds: "It makes me very proud to see the graduates of the GT Academy racing around the world with Nissan. This year we are aiming to make GT Academy bigger and better than ever before and so I am creating a new series of driving challenges open to anyone with a PS3 (terms and conditions will apply). You don't have to be an expert to have a go. Added to that, each country will host live GT Academy entry events to ensure that as many people as possible can enter the 2012 GT Academy".

Jon Brancheau, Vice President of Marketing at NNA said, "Nissan North America is delighted to again partner with Sony Entertainment to give another top-tier video gamer the opportunity to pilot real Nissan racing cars on the track. We are proud of Bryan Heitkotter's development as a racer and look forward to a much larger group of players this year, with the addition of a free online GT Academy demo from PlayStation Network and a larger broadcast audience on Spike TV. Gran Turismo 5 showcases Nissan performance and innovation like no other virtual experience, and it's exciting to see GT Academy bring those attributes to life on the racetrack."

Beginning today, players in the U.S. can download GT Academy 2012 FREE on PlayStation Store through the PlayStation®3. Designed to turn the best Gran Tursimo players into real-life race drivers, this year's GT Academy welcomes players of all levels. Each participant will compete in a series of virtual trials, piloting Nissan cars, over an eight-week period in 40 different events. Each round features five events that players can retry as many times as they want. Only the fastest lap times will be recorded and ranked. Rounds 1 and 2 are the first set of trials to open.

The last stage of the eight-week competition will serve as the finale—Round 8, Event 5—where it all boils down to one FINAL online time trial challenge. Only the fastest lap times will go up on the national leader boards, so in order to move up in the rankings, the player must continually improve their performance. Their fastest lap in Round 8, Event 5 will determine if they have what it takes to move on to the GT Academy 2012 National Finals.

For more information about GT Academy please visit: You can also follow updates on GT Academy on Facebook at*

Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy 2012 contest went ‘LIVE'. The fourth installment of the highly acclaimed virtual-to-reality racing competition is open to anyone with a PlayStation®3 console by simply downloading a free and brand-new GT Academy qualification challenge themed around the hugely popular Gran Turismo® game. With the ultimate racing prize at stake - an intensive Driver Development training program that has helped turn previous winners into professional racing drivers with Nissan - a huge entry list is expected for this year's competition.

All competitors need is access to a PS3TM connected to the internet and to be registered to the PlayStation®Network. The eight-step online qualification format, developed especially by legendary Gran Turismo® creator Kazunori Yamauchi, will take gamers and motorsport fans on a fun and exciting journey. The variety of challenges reflects the various driving skills required to master the fine art of becoming a professional racing driver. Entrants have eight weeks to complete these adrenaline-fuelled driving contests, ranging from handling powerful Nissan rear-wheel-drive performance cars and mastering cornering techniques at high speeds, through to setting lap times in wet and challenging conditions.

Whether players are enjoying the award-winning Gran Turismo for the first time, or are hardened PlayStation racers, the GT Academy qualification offers racing action for everyone. It's not just about competing with the best GT5 racers, as players can also challenge friends, colleagues and family for bragging rights by monitoring scores via ‘PSN Friends Lists.'

"This time around, we've designed a GT Academy qualification format as part of the Gran Turismo series on an unprecedented scale and aimed towards a wide variety of players," explained Kazunori Yamauchi, President of Polyphony Digital. "This title may be free, but it is a truly independent piece of work and marks a place for itself along our path from GT5 to GT6.

"I felt that the only way to really do it right for the fourth GT Academy was to create a format where not only veteran Gran Turismo players, but also players who have never tried a driving simulator before, can experience the depth of race driving and the fun and excitement of time trials."

Darren Cox, General Manager Nissan in Europe, added: "It is great to see a range of Nissan cars added to this year's online qualification process, as well as new challenges that relate closely to GT Academy's goal of turning PlayStation gamers into real racers. Yamauchi-san's knowledge and passion for racing shines through in the various stages of this exciting new Gran Turismo special download.

"In 2012 more people than ever before will have the opportunity to move from the virtual world to driving real Nissan cars at National Finals and then Race Camp. It is encouraging that they will be better prepared than ever before as a result of these new ‘virtual' qualification challenges."

Anyone from a participating country, aged 18 or over, holding a full driving license, and eligible under the terms and conditions of the competition, can enter GT Academy 2012. The online qualification stage of GT Academy runs until the early hours of Monday, 25 June, 2012 in Europe (closing at 2359 hrs BST on 24 June being 0059 CEST on 25 June). The fastest 16 online gamers from each territory will qualify for National Final events. A maximum of 16 further National Final places will be up for grabs via a series of ‘Live Event' GT5 competitions.

A total of six winners will emerge from each participating GT Academy territory to attend the GT Academy ‘Race Camp' at Silverstone - a ‘boot camp' for aspiring racing drivers. The 2012 GT Academy Champion will then be put through one of the most advanced ‘Driver Development' programs in the world in preparation for competing in the prestigious Dubai International 24 Hour Race in a full race-spec Nissan 370Z GT4 car.

Demonstrating the success of GT Academy as a route into top-level motor sport, the previous winners - Lucas Ordoñez, Jordan Tresson, Jann Mardenborough and Bryan Heitkotter - are all competing in full race programs for Nissan during 2012. Only one question remains: who will be the winner of this year's GT Academy?

Details of how to enter GT Academy Europe 2012 can be found on various platforms including:, and

About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, and 2012 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at and

About Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC
Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC continues to redefine the entertainment lifestyle with its PlayStation® and PS one® systems, the PlayStation®2 system, the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system, the ground-breaking PlayStation®3 (PS3™) system and its online and network services the PlayStation®Network and PlayStation®Store.

Recognized as the undisputed industry leader, Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC markets the PlayStation family of products and develops, publishes, markets, and distributes software for the PS one, PlayStation 2, PSP and PS3 systems for the North American market. Based in Foster City, California, Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC serves as headquarters for all North American operations and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Visit us on the Web at

About Gran Turismo®
With more than 65 million units sold worldwide, the award-winning Gran Turismo® franchise for the PlayStation®, PlayStation®2 and PLAYSTATION®3 is regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulation ever created due to its true-to-life graphics, physics and real-life cars and tracks. Since the inception of the Gran Turismo franchise, famed creator Kazunori Yamauchi and Polyphony Digital Inc. in Japan have revolutionized the racing category as we know it today. His offerings provide the gamer with the most true-to-life driving simulation within the industry and a unique medium for automotive manufacturers to showcase their products.

Contact Information:

Alex Armour
Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC
Consumer Marketing

Steve Yaeger
Nissan North America, Inc.
Corporate Communications

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