Champion awarded real shot at racing stardom with Nissan
The UK were amongst 12 European countries to participate in the NISMO PlayStation(R) GT Academy 2014, which began in April this year, with hundreds of thousands of gamers competing online through GT(R)6. The GT Academy live events brought the competition to the public, where at the vibrant Goodwood Festival of Speed, avid gamers and curious bystanders alike could try their hand at becoming the next gamer-to-racer champion. Only the very best were then awarded a place in their respective National Final, the first real-life test of race star potential. Finally, six National Finalists from seven regional groups were given a place at GT Academy Race Camp, the final stage of the competition, held at the birthplace of Formula One in Silverstone, UK at the end of July, 2014.
As the decisive test of adaptability from behind the screen to behind the wheel, Race Camp comprises a week of intensive challenges both on and off the race track. Competitors strive daily to build their skills and display their potential to avoid elimination from the competition. In a final seven-man race-off, only the top driver from each group will have a shot at becoming GT Academy champion 2014.
ITV4 now brings you the adrenaline and the emotions of GT Academy Race Camp. Under the wisdom and support of Rob Barff, the UK's six competitors compete amongst Europe's 42 most track-worthy gamers for a once in a lifetime opportunity: a place in the Driver Development Programme, a seat in the Dubai 24 Hours in January 2015, and a chance at an exhilarating career in car racing.
Formula One and Le Mans 24 Hours legend Johnny Herbert continued this year as GT Academy Head judge, having long been an advocate of the programme ever since it began in 2008. The ultimate decision of naming GT Academy's overall winner falls once again to Johnny, while the eliminations of the UK's competitors is decided by Rob Barff himself. Meanwhile, an impressive grouping of expert trainers and racing drivers give each competitor the support they need for a fighting chance in this competition.
GT Academy 2014 marks the sixth ever season of this innovative virtual-to-reality competition, which has seen a legacy of success since the very beginning. Lucas Ordonez, the first ever GT Academy winner, continues this legacy today with unquestionable triumphs including pro-am title win in the Blancpain Endurance Series 2013 and race victory in the Japanese Super GT in October this year, to name a few. This success has been joined by Jann Mardenborough, race winner of Formula One feeder series GP3, while Wolfgang Reip, Mark Shulzhitskiy and Miguel Faisca are just a portion of former GT Academy winners who each strive to set new standards in the worldwide arena of car racing.
ITV4 will bring viewers to the front line of GT Academy to see what it really means to be a virtual-to-reality racing driver. An in-depth look at the science of racing along with the intensive journey from the sofa to the race track bring a TV experience like none other, where video gamers and fans alike can have an emotional close-up of the heartache and triumph of who will be leaving Race Camp, and who will be staying, before only one is named champion.
The progress of the new GT Academy European Champion can be followed on www.facebook.com/GTAcademy and www.twitter.com/GTAcademy.