Nissan GT Academy turns Gamers into Pro Racers

Are you a Filipino gamer who wants a taste of life in the fast lane for real? You’ll want to join this!

Nissan Philippines Inc. finally launches its international virtual-to-reality competition known as the GT Academy here in the Philippines! Gran Turismo (or GT) is a series of popular and critically-acclaimed racing video games developed by Polyphony Digital exclusively for PlayStation systems. The GT Academy takes the country’s best Gran Turismo players and turns them into professional race car drivers.

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Since it was originally launched in 2008 in Europe, the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy has gained prominence for providing an alternative route into the professional motor racing world. Originally met with skepticism, the collaboration between Nissan Europe, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and Polyphony Digital, was described as as “either the stupidest idea ever or the most brilliant co-promotion for two brands in the history of mankind” when it was first launched.

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Now on its seventh year, the GT Academy has proven that it is possible to take gamers who can prove their driving skills in the virtual world and let them compete in a real racetrack. Many aviation schools use flight simulators, so it’s not hard to see how it’s possible for video racing games to be the basis of training pro-race car drivers.

Case in point: Ricardo Sanchez, the 2014 GT Academy Champion from Mexico City. The 24-year old has been a gamer since he was 11 years old. Though he was fond of go-karting, his family lacked the means to support his dream of becoming a racing driver. His father saw a GT Academy live event at a local shopping mall and called him up to try it out. Sanchez eventually won the Live Event competition and progressed to the National Finals.

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Sanchez flew to Silverstone and bested drivers from GT Academy all over the world. Now as a Pro Nissan Race car driver, he has a seat in the prestigious Blancpain Endurance Series.

Originally run as a pan-European contest, the competition has expanded to the USA, Australia, India, Mexico, the Middle East and Thailand in the past years. For the first time, Filipino gamers will now have the same chance to live out their dreams and go against other Asian countries including Japan to become the GT Academy Champion.

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Winners from each country get to attend a 3 month race camp and stay in UK near Silverstone to take part in UK national and club race weekends. To qualify for the main prize, the overall winners will be put through an intensive Driver Development Program. The Top Contender gets a chance to race professionally with Nissan in Dubai and potentially beyond.

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“We are looking forward to discovering even more new stars in 2015. Anyone in the Philippines who thinks they have what it takes should give GT Academy a go. Not everyone can win, but the experience is hugely rewarding at every stage of the competition,” said GTA Global’s Managing Director Laurence Wiltshire.

Want to know more? Check out Yugatech’s 10 FAQs in joining Nissan Philippines GT Academy.


First Gear: The Recruitment (April – June)

The top 20 gamers will be determined by time trials taking place behind the wheel of Gran Turismo 6 pods during live recruitment racing events in malls. There will be no online qualifications for the Philippines.

  • April 10 and 11, 10AM-10PM at the Glorietta 5 Activity Center
  • April 12, 10AM-9PM: Glorietta 5 Activity Center
  • April 17-18, 10AM-10PM: Glorietta Activity Center
  • April 19, 10AM-9PM: Glorietta Activity Center
  • April 23-26: Auto Focus Summer Test Drive Festival, SM MOA Parking Grounds
  • April 24-26: SM North Edsa Sky Dome

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Second Gear: National Finals (July)

The National Finals will determine the top 6 Filipino players who will go to the next round and go against the best Gran Turismo drivers in Asia.

Third Gear: The Race Camp Week (August)

Players will be tested on their strength, stamina, mental agility and driving skills against Asia’s best at the Silverstone Racing Circuit in UK. They will also be part of a reality TV Show documenting the intense competition and training airing globally over top broadcast networks.

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Fourth Gear: Driver Development Program

The Emerging GT Academy Champion in Asia will join other GT Academy winners in a rigorous training under professional coaches and racers at the Silverstone Racing Circuit in UK.

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Fifth Gear: Graduation

After passing the Driver Development Program, graduates will receive their International C License, allowing them to compete in a prestigious racing event anywhere in the world.

Not yet stoked? Just check out this teaser video shown during the media event. I literally got chills watching this!

Live events will start in the Philippines on April 10. For more details on other live events and updates on the GT Academy Philippines, please visit

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