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Franklin, U.S.A. — Nissan GT Academy is back for a second season, seeking to determine which of America’s best Gran Turismo video gamers has what it takes to become a professional racing driver.
Nissan North America, in collaboration with Sony Computer Entertainment America and Polyphony Digital, is announcing the first of six episodes to air on SPIKE TV beginning Thursday, November 1 at11:30 p.m. Eastern/10.30 p.m. Central. The remaining episodes will air at the same time each Thursday night and will be available on the Nissan YouTube channel the following Monday. GT Academy will also be screened on MTV2, one week after the original airdate on SPIKE TV. For a preview, visit the GT Academyweb site.
In July, after three months of online competition, the top 32 out of 400,000 registered Gran Turismo online gamers, met at Comic-Con in San Diego to determine the 16 finalists for GT Academy. Over two days of virtual racing competition on identical gaming sleds, the fastest 16 were invited to the legendary Silverstone Racing complex in England to begin an intense boot camp that combined physical and psychological challenges in addition to on-track driving in a variety of performance vehicles.
The six-week GT Academy television series, hosted by ex-NFL player, Dhani Jones, will capture every challenge and all of the human drama of a very intense week. At the end of each episode, competitors’ performances are evaluated and critiqued by pro racers Danny Sullivan, Maryeve Dufault and Boris Said. Those who don’t make the cut go home. One winner emerges and remains in the U.K. to undergo intensive professional racing training that will qualify them to earn their international competition license.
“GT Academy is a program that we are really pleased to be a part of. It reinforces our values of excitement, innovation and performance above all else, while giving 16 people the opportunity to fulfill their dreams – and for one of them to potentially change their lives for good,” said Jon Brancheau, VP Marketing, Nissan North America.
A new addition for season two is a second-screen experience, Pit Pass , which puts the viewer at the center of the action, making them feel more like a participant than a spectator. Building on the concept of “Victory Is Anyone’s,” viewers can visit GTAcademy.us via their smartphone or tablet devices while watching the show and enjoy access to exclusive segment-specific content while the show is playing on SPIKE TV, all via the browser and without needing to download an app.
Each episode will have unique companion content, including video, interactive maps, polls, tutorials and fun facts, to drive deeper viewer engagement and inspire social media sharing. In addition, using Facebook Connect, the fan becomes the hero, enjoying the ability to create his/her own custom, adrenaline-charged GT Academy hot lap video, as well as immersing themselves in a rich, panoramic first person experience on the GT Academy website, optimized for the iPad and iPhone gyroscope technology.
The GT Academy concept has already proven successful. Both European and North American GT Academy competitions have produced race winners and top qualifiers in professional racing programs around the world. Europe’s GT Academy Season One winner Lucas Ordonez won the P2 Class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2011 in a Nissan-powered prototype, while a team of four GT Academy winners placed third-in-class in January at the 24 Hours of Dubai in a race-prepared Nissan 370Z.
Image Courtesy of GT Academy (North America)