In partnership with Sony, Gran Turismo developer Polyphony Digital will launch its popular GT Academy racing competition in the United States. Registration for the program, which will give Gran Turismo 5 players the chance to go from the virtual driver’s seat to the professional racing circuit, begins December 6, and the competition officially begins December 20.
There will be a number of online time trials that players will have to compete in with pre-selected Nissan cars. Everyone who tries out receives some sort of “free digital content” for participating, and there will also be prizes given away for winning regional time trials as well.
The top 32 players will then compete in a live national event in March, and that field will be cut to 16. Those finalists will then compete in actual racing challenges, the winner of which will go on to become a professional racer at the GT Academy, and eventually, assuming they have the right stuff, go on to become a member of a professional racing team.
"With the upcoming launch of Gran Turismo 5, it's a very exciting time to team with Nissan to announce GT Academy," vice president of product marketing for SCEA Scott A. Steinberg said in a statement. "With the realistic racing experience that only Gran Turismo 5 provides, GT Academy will identify someone who truly has the skills to become a pro race car driver, providing the chance of a lifetime to win the ultimate prize."
The GT Academy competition will also be the subject of a reality show series that will air on the SPEED channel and PlayStation Network in 2011.
Gran Turismo 5 will be released on November 24.