LAUNCHING LATE LAST year, the second instalment of Nissan's successful GT Academy Time Trial competition has now reached one million players.
Following last year's competition, which saw 23 year-old Spaniard Lucas OrdoÃ±ez launched into a Nissan-sponsored European GT4 Cup season, this year's GT Academy promises the same to new hopefuls: but this time, they'll be racing a Nissan 370Z.
â€œHitting one million downloads of the GT Academy Time Trial from the 17 participating countries alone is a very important milestone,â€ Kazunori Yamauchi, Gran Turismo creator and Polyphony Digital President said.
â€œWe 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."
The GT Academy competition is open to participants 18 years and older from the following territories: Australia; Austria; Belgium; France; Germany; Ireland; Italy; Netherlands; New Zealand; Portugal; Spain; Switzerland; UK; and Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
GT Academy 2010 is divided into five key stages
Stage One - Entrants download the Gran Turismo time trial via the PlayStation Network, then they record their timed laps in two virtual cars â€“ a standard Nissan 370Z and a race-tuned version.
Stage Two - The holders of the twenty fastest online times from each participating territory will qualify for a national final event held to select the fastest one or two Gran Turismo drivers who will proceed to the next phase.
Stage Three - 19 finalists, chosen from each of the national finals events, will head to the world famous Silverstone circuit for the GT Academy - a five-day, comprehensive race driver boot camp.
Stage Four - For the two competitors that display the greatest skills and aptitude for motorsport, a UK-based intensive driving and racing programme will prepare them to qualify for an international racing license.
Stage Five - There is only one place available for the driver with the most potential to compete on an international stage. The overall GT Academy 2010 champion will race a full season in the European GT4 Cup in a Nissan 370Z prepared by RJN Motorsport. The opening race is currently scheduled for May, 2010.
Despite a March launch expected for the full GT5 game in Japan, Sony and Polyphony Digital are no closer to confirming dates for the English-language version.
Speaking with gaming site Destructoid, Sony Computer Entertainment Americaâ€™s Chris Hinojosa-Miranda said the company is hoping for a Summer 2010 (US) launch - around June or July at the earliest.