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Nissan and Playstation are flexing their GT Academy muscles this year, enlisting four winners of previous GT Academies and campaigning a full gamer line up at this year’s Dubai 24 Hours Race. In previous years, GT Academy only used one winner along with three pros, but this year the team of drivers will consist of all virtual-to-reality competition winners.
The four drivers will take on the race in a Nissan-prepped, 410-hp 370Z as they try to take the crown as the first ever “all-gamer-turned-real-racer-team to tackle a major international race”. The four drivers are Lucas Ordoñez from Spain, the winner of the first GT Academy in 2008. His accolades since then also include second place in the LMP2 class at Le Mans 2011, winner of the Le Mans Intercontinental Cup (ILMC) series and ILMC Rookie of the Year in 2011. Winner of the 2010 GT Academy is Jordan Tresson from France, who was also the winner of the 2011 Blancpain Endurance Series. Winner of this year’s GT Academy is Jann Mardenborough from Great Britain and the last driver is Bryan Heitkotter from California, US who was the winner of GT Academy USA 2011.
Both recent winners Jann and Bryan undertook a rigorous five month Driver Development Programme, competing at regular races in a standard 370Z then in a GT4 race car. Both qualified for their International C race licenses quickly, but continued to undertake personal training sessions at Silverstone, karting to improve their race craft, physical training, race psychology, heat chamber sessions and race simulator sessions.
It will be awesome to see all four drivers compete on the big stage and to see how well they do – all thanks to Gran Turismo.
GALLERY: GT Academy Dubai 24 Hours Line Up
Whether you’re an individual looking for a fun track toy, or a race team looking for a competitive platform, Nissan now has something for you. Based on the street-legal Z car, the new 370Z NISMO RC race car is now for sale and is already certified for use in the SCCA World Challenge GTS class, as well as any FIA GT4 class race series. In addition, Nissan claims that with minor changes the car can be adapted for use in the Grand Am Continental Tire Challenge GS class.
Weighing just 2,954 lbs the race car gets a full NISMO exhaust and NISMO tuned ECO, as well as a NISMO clutch, flywheel and Recaro racing seats. There’s also a roll cage, fire extinguisher, Sparco steering wheel and carbon-fiber switch panel.. The factory 3.7-liter V6 engine has been massaged slightly to deliver 355-hp and 276 lb-ft of torque.
But the best part? Transmission and differential coolers so the car doesn’t overheat and go into limp mode like the street car.
Interested parties can contact Nissan’s motorsports division at (888) 833-3225 or email email@example.com.
GALLERY: Nissan 370Z NISMO RC Race Car
Get ready to see more Nissans competing on race tracks across American, with the Japanese automaker announcing the debut of a new 370Z race car. A factory backed team isn’t in the company’s plans, but Nissan is building a spec Z racer with its NISMO motorsports division, that will be eligable to compete in the World Challenge’s GTS class and Grand-Am’s Continental Tire Challenge GS class.
In addition, Nissan is supporting all those out there racing their Nissan vehicles by offering contingency payouts. Prizes range from $250 for a Formula Drift first place finish, to $5,000 for a World Challenge or Grand-Am win.
To get more on the new 370Z race car or the Racer Support and Contingency Awards Programs, contact Nissan Motorsports at 888 833-3225 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.nissan4parts.com.
*Note: The above image is that of the NISMO Z-based BRE 370Z race car. Photos of the new car have yet to be released..