Gran Turismo Gamers Get Chance to Turn Virtual into Reality

Nissan’s ‘GT Academy USA’ Reality TV Show Debuts

Online PR News – 28-September-2011 – – QUINCY, Mass. – There has long been a debate over whether video games can actually improve real-life skills, but a new reality show aims to put that debate to rest. “GT Academy USA” gives 16 players of the popular video game Gran Turismo 5 a chance to put down their controllers and become an actual Nissan-sponsored racecar driver. With five episodes airing on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EDT on the SPEED channel, the show debuted on September 20 and will declare a winner on October 18.

The first part of the GT Academy competition, which could be entered only by PlayStation Network subscribers on their PlayStation 3, had more than 53,000 contestants race against each other in Gran Turismo 5 on tracks and in cars previously chosen by Nissan officials. The top 16 contestants were then flown to England where they competed in person for the grand prize, participating in physical and mental challenges as well as in real-life races at England’s Silverstone circuit.

“The purpose of the GT Academy competition is to foster community and competition while bridging the gap between fantasy and reality,” said Paul Butts, general manager of Greater Boston Nissan dealer Quirk Nissan. “Americans will love seeing how well our own drivers perform when they’re pulled from their gaming chairs and thrust into real racing vehicles.”

While Nissan’s GT Academy is making its debut in the United States, it has been held in Europe since 2008, molding fierce drivers out of Gran Turismo addicts. 2011 European winner Jann Mardenborough recently drove a Nissan 370Z at the UK’s Rockingham circuit and won two races in a round of the Nippon Challenge national series, proving that Nissan can churn out professional-grade cars and drivers alike.

While Mardenborough’s car of choice has been modified for racing, the street-legal version of the Nissan 370Z is available at Nissan dealerships like Quirk Nissan. Featuring a standard 3.7-liter, 332-horsepower V6 engine on production models, the sports car does not want for power, and drivers can upgrade to the Sport Package to get SynchroRev Match manual transmission technology or opt for a seven-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Details like the 370Z’s minimized windshield pillar and gauges that adjust with the steering wheel column improve visibility and emphasize the idea that the vehicle was built for optimum speed and performance.

“Whether you’re looking to race on a track or just cruise along back roads on the South Shore, you’ll get plenty of excitement driving a Nissan 370Z,” added Butts. “And, if you think the performance of the 370Z might be a little too much for your heart rate, the engine specs and quality suspension on Nissans like the Xterra or the Juke ensure drivers can still get a rush.”

Full episodes of “GT Academy USA” can be downloaded by PlayStation Network subscribers onto their PlayStation 3 the Wednesday after each episode airs.

About Quirk Nissan:
Quirk Nissan, a premier Greater Boston Nissan dealer, is focused on providing superior value and service in every aspect of the automobile purchase and ownership experience. Quirk Nissan offers a full line of new Nissan vehicles, as well as an extensive selection of pre-owned cars, SUVs and trucks, and is known for the honesty and integrity of its sales, service and parts staff. For more information, call 877-647-7861, visit their website at, like them on Facebook at or stop by their dealership at 600 Southern Artery in Quincy, Mass.