Nissan launches first ‘GT Academy’ in the ASEAN region

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Virtual racers in Thailand invited to compete for an opportunity to turn Pro NISMO Athlete.

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BANGKOK, Thailand, 19 March 2014 —-– Nissan, in collaboration with Sony Thai Co., Ltd., today introduced Nissan GT Academy in Thailand to encourage virtual racers to win an opportunity to turn Pro NISMO Athlete. Through Nissan GT Academy, Nissan seeks to create opportunities for Thais to gain motorsport experience at an international level.

“Since its conception, Nissan GT Academy has been defying both common sense and motorsports tradition. The program takes gamers who excel at PlayStation®3 Gran Turismo®6 (GT6TM) and turns them into professional drivers in a matter of months,” said Hiroyuki Yoshimoto, president of Nissan Motor (Thailand) Co., Ltd. “With the launch of GT Academy in Thailand, Nissan encourages Thais to unlock their potential and achieve more by joining this exciting and innovative programme.”

In the first round of competition, Nissan GT Academy will recruit the top 28 Thai gamers from two channels: 14 from Nissan GT6TM Simulators and 14 from the PlayStation® Network. Individuals can enter the competition by getting behind the wheel of a Nissan GT6TM Simulator at a “Nissan GT Academy Live Event”, to be held for the first time at the Nissan booth at The 35th Bangkok International Motor Show 2014, IMPACT Muang Thong Thani, from 26 March to 6 April  2014.

After the motor show, Nissan GT Academy will go on a road show to Khon Kaen, Surat Thani, Bangkok and Chiang Mai from 24 April to 15 June 2014. The top 14 contestants who clock the fastest lap times from these four cities will be eligible to compete in the National Final, the first gateway to GT Academy’s International Race Camp.

Alternatively, to earn their grid position via the PlayStation® Network (PSNSM) from the comfort of their own homes, virtual racers need to demonstrate their skill and determination to keep their names at the top of the GT Academy leader board, only possible by playing a special addition of Gran Turismo®6 on PlayStation®3 (PS3TM). The nation’s top 14 virtual racers will be identified through a series of online time trials. A special version of the game will be available for free download to GT6TM owners on a date to be announced soon.

The top 28 gamers will be invited to compete at a live, two-day National Final on 25-26 June 2014 at the Bira Circuit International Pattaya, where they will battle in the Nissan GT6TM Simulators, as well as completing driving skill challenges in the high-performance Nissan Pulsar DIG Turbo, a fitness challenge and a media test. The top six performers from these National Finals will then be invited to take part in the Final Selection Round – an intense Race Camp competition held at the famous Silverstone Circuit in the U.K.

At the International Race Camp, the six Thai finalists will compete against 24 international hopefuls. Their driving skills will be tested on the Formula One Silverstone motor racing circuit in NISMO-tuned Nissan 370Zs and GT-Rs. Only one finalist out of six from Thailand will be chosen to go head to head against their peers from other countries, competing to be the GT Academy International winner.

The GT Academy 2014 International winner will then get a chance to become a professional NISMO Athlete as they go through an intensive Driver Development Programme to prepare to compete for Nissan at the Dubai 24 hours in January 2015.

“Nissan is proud to launch GT Academy in Thailand, our first country for the programme in the ASEAN region,” said Darren Cox, Nissan Motor Corporation global motorsport director. “Now in its sixth year, the innovative GT Academy is getting a large international following since its successful execution in Europe, Russia, the USA, Middle East and South Africa.” 

“With the addition of GT Academy International – of which Thailand will be one of five markets – we have expanded the programme for 2014. This is a great endorsement of GT Academy’s increasing popularity worldwide. Nissan is an international company with global ambitions, and GT Academy reflects that.” 

Nissan GT Academy is also joined by Tor Sriachavanon Graves, a Thai professional racing driver, the second Thai driver in history to race at Le Mans 24 hours. He will play an important role as a mentor for the Thai contestants, as well as a judge at the International Race Camp.

“Nissan GT Academy is a great programme that offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for racing advocates to fulfill their dreams, racing the virtual track to win a chance to become a professional race car driver. The dream was realised for the winners of GT Academy in previous years, so you can do it too,” said Graves.

NISSAN GT ACADEMY on PlayStation®3

FACTSHEET

Nissan and PlayStation held the first GT Academy in 2008, and since then the programme has been defying both common sense and motorsports tradition. The academy takes people who are good at video games and, in a matter of months, turns them into professional drivers. In December 2013, Nissan was honoured with the Autosport Award for Pioneering and Innovation for GT Academy.

Recently in January 2014, the four newest Nismo Athletes, the winners of Nissan GT Academy 2013, along with inaugural winner Lucas Ordoñez, stormed to the SP2 class victory at the Dubai 24 Hour. This is the first Dubai 24 Hour victory for GT Academy winners.

Dubai was the first international race for European winner Miguel Faisca, German winner Florian Strauss, US winner Nick McMillen and Russian winner Stanislav Aksenov. These stellar Gran Turismo®6 (GT6™) gamers have made the switch from the virtual world to reality, only moving from racing on PlayStation®3 to racing for real three months ago, so to bring the No.123 Nissan 370Z Nismo across the line first after 24 hour of racing was an incredible achievement.

“We’re finding drivers who didn’t even know where they wanted to be. We’re taking drivers from the virtual world to the real world and making them successful. The first year people thought we were lucky, and then we must have kept getting lucky!” explained Nissan’s Director of Global Motorsports Darren Cox of the thinking behind the programme.

In 2008, Spain’s Lucas Ordonez was a 23-year-old student who had never driven a real racecar. Then he won GT Academy Europe. Since then he has been on the podium at the famous Le Mans 24 hour race twice as well as enjoyed success in the Blancpain Endurance Series, Dubai 24 hours, European Le Mans series and FIA GT4.

In the summer of 2011, 19-year-old Welshman Jann Mardenborough won the third instalment of GT Academy Europe. Six months later he had an international racing license and by January, he was standing on the podium with his GT Academy teammates at the 24 Hours of Dubai.

Jann has since gone on to enjoy success at Le Mans and is now focused on a career in single seater racing, having recently announced he will be contesting GP3 this year with Arden International as well as working with Red Bull Infiniti Racing as part of their intensive driver development programme.

2014 will see the Nismo Athletes competing across the globe, against the toughest competition, in some of the world’s hardest races.

“GT Academy continues to prove again that Nissan is innovating on track, online and on the road,” commented Andy Palmer, Executive Vice-President of Nissan. “2013 has been an amazing year for the programme, but 2014 will see even more excitement as we expand even further globally and our drivers progress further up the real motorsport ladder.”

This year in Thailand, 28 of the best will join the National Final, just six will make it to Silverstone.

The dream happened for these guys. The question is: who’s next? You?

For more information about Nissan GT Academy in Thailand, please visit: http://GTAcademy.nissan.co.th

HOW TO PLAY

01    PLAY THE GAME

If you’re already playing Gran Turismo®6 (GT6™) on your PlayStation®3 keep doing that. If you don’t already have it, get it, and start playing. Then, keep playing. Follow this simple advice and you’ll be ready to go when the next GT Academy 2014 download is available. You could be the next gamer to go from virtual to reality.

As Nissan is launching GT Academy in Thailand, an online competition will be launched via the PlayStation®Network (PSNSM), and further details of this will be available in the coming days.

However, individuals with a valid driving license can choose to take part in the competition at GT Academy Live Events, experiencing the Nissan GT6 Simulators, to be held for the first time at Nissan Booth at The 35th Bangkok International Motor Show 2014 from 26 March to 6 April 2014 at IMPACT Muang Thong Thani. The GT Academy Live Events will also be held at various provinces in Thailand during the following periods:

24-27 April 2014: Central Plaza, Khon Kean

8-11 May 2014:  Central Plaza, Suratthani

5-8 June 2014:  Central Plaza Ladprao, Bangkok

12-15 June 2014:  Central Festival, Chiang Mai

Next, a total of 28 best gamers, top 14 from the online competition and top 14 from the GT Academy Live Events, will join the 2-day National Final, 25-26 June 2014 at the Bira Circuit International Pattaya.

The National Final brings together the fastest Online and Live Event Gamers and put them through a series of challenges, including fitness challenge and a media test. The objective is to select the final six contestants from Thailand for International Race Camp, Silverstone, United Kingdom.

At Race Camp, a tough series of challenges, driving and non-driving, will see competitors eliminated each day until just one from each country remains. These competitors will then go head to head to find one GT Academy International winner.

02     COMPETE

If all goes well – really well – you might just make it to Silverstone. If you’re lucky enough to do that, know this: GT Academy isn’t a gimmick or a stunt. It’s a real competition with real competitors on a real racetrack in a real car. It could be dangerous. The people who win this competition quit their jobs, quit school, move away, and become professional racecar drivers.

WHO CAN ENTER GT ACADEMY?

Who can enter GT Academy? Most people! There are very few limitations, only these:

The entrant must be over 18 years of age, and there is no upward age limit for entering GT Academy

Male or female! Female entrants are very welcome

The entrant must be a permanent resident of Thailand

The entrant has an international passport (or can obtain one) and they are able to obtain the appropriate visa to enter to country holding Race Camp (2014: United Kingdom)

The entrant must hold a valid driving license (not provisional) in Thailand

The entrant must not been convicted of any criminal offences

The entrant has not raced at a National level for over a year or held an equivalent Motorsport license issued by their local ASN (GT Academy Global reserve the right to decide what experience is deemed appropriate to enter GTA)

The entrant must not have a contract with another manufacturer, race team or conflicting sponsor that will limit their ability to accept the prize for winning GT Academy

The entrant must not have competed at the GT Academy Race Camp stage (or equivalent or similar stages) in any previous GT Academy competition.

Recruitment- Nissan GT Academy-Thailand

About the Gran Turismo® Franchise

Gran Turismo® celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2013, having first appeared internationally in 1998. The multi-award-winning franchise has been the most successful ever for PlayStation®, and in 2013 it also surpassed worldwide sales of 70 million units. Various iterations of Gran Turismo® have  been created for PlayStation®, PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®3 and PSP® (PlayStation® Portable), and have always been regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulators ever created due to true-to-life graphics, authentic physics technology and design. Since the inception of Gran Turismo®, famed creator Kazunori Yamauchi and Polyphony Digital Inc. in Japan have revolutionized the racing category as we know it today. His offerings provide the most realistic driving simulation in the industry and a unique medium for automotive manufacturers to showcase their products. Gran Turismo®5, the latest iteration of the game, was released on November 24, 2010 and has sold 10 million units worldwide. The forthcoming Gran Turismo®6 has been released on 5 December 2013.

About Nissan

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan’s second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 236,000 employees globally, Nissan sold more than 4.9 million vehicles and generated revenue of 9.6 trillion yen (USD 116.16 billion) in fiscal 2012. Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of over 60 models under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. In 2010, Nissan introduced the Nissan LEAF, and continues to lead in zero-emission mobility. The LEAF, the first mass-market, pure-electric vehicle launched globally, is now the best-selling EV in history.

[Source: Nissan Thailand]

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