Play Gran Turismo 5 for a Chance to Become a Real Race Driver

By Garnett Lee, Nov 16, 2010 3:20pm PST Sony and developer Polyphony Digital have partnered up with Nissan North America to bring the GT Academy contest to the states. The program—which has been run a couple of times before in Europe—lets gamers prove their driving skills in Gran Turismo 5 (GT5) for a chance at doing the real thing. A series of online time trials driven in pre-selected Nissan vehicles will whittle the field down to 16 finalists who then go on to a week-long GT Academy boot camp, which will include real driving in Nissan cars. The eventual winner gets a spot on a racing team to compete in a real race. Their training and preparation will also be the subject of a reality show on SPEED channel.

Registration opens December 6, 2010 with tournament competition starting two weeks later, on December 20, 2010. For the next five weeks, registered players will have access to a set of special online time trials in GT5. The trials can be driven as many times as a player wants with only their best time at the end of the tournament entered on the leaderboards.

The US will be broken up into four regions—West, Midwest, Southeast, and Northwest—for the competition. In the first round, racers will be cut to the top 128 racers from each, who will then advance to a second round where that number will be reduced to the top16. The third round knocks it down to the top eight, at which point these top 32 players will be flown to a national championship to play for a spot in the 16 who go on to the boot camp. The official Gran Turismo site has a FAQ and the official rules. For a glimpse of what it will be like, check out the announcement video below.

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