Race gamer? Nissan wants you!

2012-10-09 07:07

Get your race face on! That’s the call to action Nissan and Playstation have issued to the band of couch-bound game geeks around the world.

The first winner of Nissan’s inaugural 2008 GT Academy, Spaniard Lucas Ordonez, was on hand to provide inspiration for the launch of the South African leg of this innovative race programme at Zwartkops raceway outside Pretoria. He is proof, after all, that you can win a pukka race seat by honing your skills on a game played in the comfort of your living room.


While the four previous GT Academy sessions attracted more than 2.3-million eager drivers, 2012 is the first time South Africa and the Middle East have been able to throw their hopefuls into the cauldron. It’s definitely no cakewalk – finalists will be subjected to driver training and physical training sessions along with challenging mental activities to assess their suitability for the role.

Media members at the launch were put through a number of challenges – kart races and Nissan Jukes on the kart track, a 370Z on a gymkhana test and, naturally, a Playstation challenge – but nowhere near as demanding as what the GT Academy racers will be faced with.

And this is a rather big ticket.

Past GT Academy winners have achieved podium finishes in World endurance championship events. Ordonez has finished second at the 24 Hour of Le Mans while, in January 2012, an all-gamer driver line-up made history when they achieved a podium finish at the Dubai 24 hour race.

From October 15, 2012 gaming aspirant South African racers over 18 will be able to set their dreams in motion by registering for the competition – either online, through a Nissan dealers or at any of the mobile rigs that will be touring the country. An exclusive, free-to-download format of Gran Turismo 5, developed by creator Kazanori Yamauchi, will be available online from October 15 - December 10, 2012 for anybody with a Playstation 3.


Local finals will be held at the end of January 2013 back at Zwartkops where the top 25 racers (16 selected from the online entries and nine from the “live events”) will vie for a place in the top eight. Those who progress to the next round will go on to a race camp at Britain’s Silverstone circuit where one driver from either South Africa or the Middle East will make it through to the driver development programme that will be run from May through July, 2013.

The process will end in September 2013 when the top “graduate” of the GT Academy will contest the 2013 Silverstone 24 Hour race.

According to Nissan, details of how and where to enter GT Academy can be found on various platforms including, Facebook, Gran Turismo's website and a dedicated GT Academy SA page.