Will you be a pacemaker or a backmarker in the race for motor sport glory?
Get your bid to turn racing dreams into reality on the road, as Nissan International SA and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe join forces once more to launch the fourth edition of GT Academy on PlayStation 3.
You're just eight steps away from qualifying for the most prestigious event on PS3. Download GT Academy 2012 from PlayStation Store at no extra charge from 1 May 2012 and you'll discover whether you have the speed and control so vital to any racing driver.
Once you've downloaded GT Academy 2012 to your PS3, a series of challenges designed to test every aspect of your driving skill will become available on key dates. You don't have to do a thing except remember to return to GT Academy 2012 after these dates, slip on your driving gloves and take the wheel.
Rounds will be unlocked on the following dates:
You'll then have until 24 June 2012 to give each event your best shot.
The competition will really heat up in Round 8 – that's when you'll have to pull out the stops to qualify. Until then it's all about bragging rights with friends and seeing how you compare to the rest of Europe.
The fastest PS3 gamers from each participating country will join the winners of a series of live events to compete in a thrilling round of national finals. The winners of each national final will then make the transition from virtual to real world racing at the demanding Race Camp, held at the UK's famous Silverstone circuit.
The ultimate winners of each of the GT Academy 2012 competitions from Race Camp will then be put through an incredibly intensive Driver Development Programme to prepare them for the chance to take part in the challenging Dubai 24 Hours in January 2013*.
Since 2008 more than 1.5 million of you have taken part in the competition, now seen as a potential route into the high speed world of global motor racing. During 2012, four previous winners of GT Academy line up in racing championships around the globe, including the 2011 GT Academy winner, Jann Mardenborough, who takes part in the Blancpain Endurance Series.
Meanwhile Lucas Ordoñez, winner in 2008, will be hoping to go one better in the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hour race having come second in 2011.
Darren Cox, General Manager Nissan in Europe, said: "It is great to see a range of Nissan cars added to this year's online qualification process, as well as new challenges that relate closely to GT Academy's goal of turning PlayStation gamers into real racers. Yamauchi-san's knowledge and passion for racing shines through in the various stages of this exciting new Gran Turismo special download.
"In 2012 more people than ever before will have the opportunity to move from the virtual world to driving real Nissan cars at National Finals and then Race Camp. It is encouraging that they will be better prepared than ever before as a result of these new 'virtual' qualification challenges."
"This time around, we've designed a GT Academy qualification format as part of the Gran Turismo series on an unprecedented scale and aimed towards a wide variety of players," explained Kazunori Yamauchi, President of Polyphony Digital. "This title may be free, but it is a truly independent piece of work and marks a place for itself along our path from Gran Turismo 5 to Gran Turismo 6.
"I felt that the only way to really do it right for the fourth GT Academy was to create a format where not only veteran Gran Turismo players, but also players who have never tried a driving simulator before, can experience the depth of race driving and the fun and excitement of time trials."
Rev up for your own shot at glory by downloading GT Academy 2012 to your PS3 from PlayStation Store, and make sure you stay up to speed with the latest developments at gran-turismo.com and with the GT Academy community at facebook.com/GTAcademy and at community.eu.playstation.com.
*Subject to terms and conditions.