European GT Academy Gets Green Flag

March 4, 2011Written by Tyler Minarik

The 2011 GT Academy for European countries starts today, marking the opening of one of the coolest annual video game competitions.

If you’re a racing fan who owns a PS3, then there’s no doubt that Gran Turismo 5 is a great game for you. Boasting some of the most realistic simulation physics of any racing game to date, the Gran Turismo franchise has proven just how good it is at simulating real life racing by hosting an annual GT Academy competition. The competition challenges gamers to compete virtually, and after finding the top players it challenges them to take on racing in real life. Previous winners have gone on to start successful careers in racing, proving that the skills used in the game are transferable to real life.

So, if you like driving some of the best cars in the world as fast as you can, and making money doing it, entering this contest is absolutely essential. Similar to previous years, the competition will consist of multiple steps, starting with a time trial race for the initial standings. The rest of the steps are as follows:

Stage One – record flying laps on a time trial-based track available in Gran Turismo 5. A leaderboard for each participating territory group will show competitors’ lap times.

Stage Two – the holders of the twenty fastest online lap times from each European territory group will qualify for their National Final event, along with a possible four wildcard entries chosen through other events.

Stage Three – twelve finalists, two chosen from each of the National Finals events, will head to the world famous Silverstone circuit for the GT Academy Race Camp, a comprehensive race driver training school.

Stage Four – The overall 2011 winner will embark on a UK-based intensive driving and racing programme in preparation to qualify for an international racing license.

Stage Five – If the winner obtains a racing licence, they may get to race in the prestigious Dubai 24 Hour International race in a fully-supported Nissan 370Z GT4 car.

The first stage of the competition will remain open for participation until April 17th, but before you can enter you must register at Once registered simply turn on Gran Turismo 5, log into the PSN, and go to the Seasonal Events section in GT Mode to find the GT Academy race. It should also be noted that entrants must be 18 or older, and only the following European territories are eligible to participate:

  • UK & Ireland
  • France & Switzerland
  • Germany & Austria
  • Spain & Portugal
  • Netherlands

Italy will also eventually join the ranks of eligible countries, but no details on when have been released yet. If you don’t live in one of those countries, they’ll also have a special time trial to compete in, however it will be just for the fun of it. Also, if you lack the confidence to be a winner it’s still worth it to register. Polyphony is handing out a free in game Nissan GT-R to everyone who registers for the contest, which includes a special livery as pictured below.

Make no mistake the competition will be stiff, but the prize is so very worth the effort. Are you ready to prove you can grab the checkered flag in real life?