Of more than one million downloads of the Gran Turismo Academy Time Trial, reportedly 6000 are New Zealanders.
The competition, a collaboration between Nissan and PlayStation, aims to uncover a real-world racing talent from the virtual-racing world of Gran Turismo. Open to entrants from 17 countries, it is the first time that New Zealanders can participate in the event. Nineteen winners will be selected to take part in a race driver ‘boot camp’ at Silverstone Circuit, with the eventual overall winner racing a full season in the European GT4 Cup behind the wheel of a Nissan 370z.
“Hitting one million downloads of the GT Academy Time Trial from the 17 participating countries alone is a very important milestone,” explained the creator of the Gran Turismo games and president of Polyphony Digital Inc., Kazunori Yamauchi. “We created the Time Trial purely as the mechanic to run the first phase of GT Academy 2010. The massive interest is testament to the strong GT Academy concept that offers the chance to make a dream come true. But it also clearly demonstrates the popularity of Gran Turismo. This Time Trial is only a tiny sample of what is to come in Gran Turismo 5, so it is particularly pleasing to have seen such a positive reaction to it.
David Hine, Director Sales & Marketing Sony Computer Entertainment NZ Ltd (SCE NZ Ltd) is especially hopeful that a Kiwi will make the cut. “The Kiwis are right up there with the best times at the moment but we aren’t at the top yet, With five days still to go until the deadline, it is not too late for anyone who has not yet tried to get onto their PS3 and give it a go,” he said.
The top 30 contestants on the leaderboard for each territory at midnight on January 24 must register their details and interest in progressing to the National Final at http://eu.gran-turismo.com/. The top 20 New Zealanders at the end of the Time Trial stage will head to the New Zealand finals at Hampton Downs on Wednesday, February 3. Some of New Zealand’s top drivers will train the final 20, and a Kiwi representative for the GT Academy will be chosen by a process of elimination.