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Friday, November 30, 2012

GT Academy Thoughts

John B. Marine | 1:05 PM | |
GT Academy is something I've only recently caught on with. I figured I'd share my thoughts on the GT Academy reality TV competition in general. I have only started to recently follow the GT Academy action on Spike TV. It is now a chance for me to gauge what this entire thing is about. I am offering my own thoughts based on the what I've seen on TV and read online.

NOTE: Most of what I will discuss basically refers to the American GT Academy competition.

--- GT Academy Explained ---

For those uninitiated to GT Academy, allow me to introduce you to this competition in my own way. To give you an idea of what GT Academy is all about, I have included the following video. Click on the link below this video if you want to comment on it or if you can't view Flash media on your device or browser:

^ "GT Academy USA | 2012 Trailer"

GT Academy is a competition where Gran Turismo gamers take their racing skills from virtual reality to... reality. Competition involves a series of driving challenges and physical fitness. It also includes various other skills needed to go from game driver to pro driver. Many Gran Turismo gamers are whittled down to a select few who will compete in a final set of challenges to determine who will race for Nissan. The first GT Academy champion was Lucas Ordoñez. He went on to compete (and do very well) racing for Nissan at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Lucas Ordoñez, then, serves as a trail blazer and model for what is possible in going from a racing gamer to a pro racer.

The current season of GT Academy USA is hosted by Dhani Jones. All of the GT Academy USA finalists are judged by three racing personalities- Boris Said, Danny Sullivan, and Maryeve Dufault.

How does one begin to be a contender for GT Academy? It begins by downloading GT Academy from the PlayStation Store. Gran Turismo 5 is not required to play GT Academy. GT Academy features a set of driving challenges for one to take on. If your performance in each challenge is among the top percentile of GT gamers, you will be invited to compete the finals of your region's GT Academy. The winning GT Academy upon final eliminations will get the ultimate dream- to race professionally. You get to race for Nissan.

So that is a basic explanation of GT Academy. How about the execution of everything? Read on!

--- Thoughts on GT Academy ---

You know a great thing about games? You don't have to worry about being physically fit or getting injured or killed doing things in games. Trying to translate virtual racing to reality is often a great challenge. So for those who are great enough to do virtual racing and fit enough to take on real-world challenges, GT Academy is a great convergence of virtual-meets-real. I have nothing but respect for those who are able to take on both the challenges of Gran Turismo and various real-world challenges.

As a simulation racer, Gran Turismo rewards those who know how to drive proficiently while also being able to properly keep a car between the lines and away from the barriers. The series has always been about realism in both driving and racing. Often times, I'll see people drive like idiots in videos and in online races. People are probably already aware that driving too aggressively or stupidly will NOT get you any recognition from professional racing teams or professional race car drivers. This, if anything, is a reality check for some people who think racing is about wrecking cars.

Anyone should quiet down if they think that racing for Nissan is nothing worth competing for. I know there are a lot of people who are tired of Nissan in Gran Turismo- especially those who complain of too many Skylines/GT-Rs and not much of anything else. Look at the main prize here: you get to race professionally. Who wouldn't want that opportunity? I am not really into Nissan myself, but the opportunity to become a professional race car driver and race professionally is a goal almost ANY car lover and/or racing fan can aspire to. However far you can go as a pro racing driver is up to you and your abilities. Maybe you can start out racing professionally for Nissan and then step up to maybe race for a juggernaut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans or even win the Formula 1 World Championship. But for the most part, GT Academy is a tremendous challenge as well as a potential stepping stone towards racing greatness. If anything, you have to love being able to race a powerful sports car- the Nissan GT-R- in anger in real life. That alone has to be incentive to even want to compete in this competition.

I probably would compete in GT Academy if I were a better GT racer and if I was much more physically fit. For now... I'll stick to blogging and playing Gran Turismo extensively.

For more information about Nissan GT Academy, visit GT Academy Show from Nissan USA. You can also visit Nissan GT Academy on

Those are my thoughts on GT Academy. How do YOU feel about GT Academy? Remember that you can express your thoughts in any of my blog posts. I welcome comments, but not spam or personal attacks. So speak up! Thank you for reading!

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