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Expert Gran Turismo® 5 Drivers to Compete for a Chance to Go Pro in GT Academy National Event
Mar 10, 2011 (03:03 PM EST)


With More Than 50,000 Registered Players, 32 Finalists to Race in Live Gran Turismo® 5 Competition in Orlando, March 22 & 23

FOSTER CITY, Calif., March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA) and Polyphony Digital Inc., in collaboration with Nissan North America, revealed today the 32 contestants that have qualified for the final gaming round in Phase One of GT Academy. Finalists will race using select Nissan vehicles appearing in Gran Turismo® 5, available exclusively on the PlayStation®3 (PS3™) system.  By competing in online time trials, the finalists (eight per region) achieved the fastest lap times in the US and are now one step closer to becoming a driver on a professional racing team.  The finalists will take part in a live head-to-head competition at the GT Academy National Finals event on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 22 & 23, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20020701/SFM066LOGO)

More than 53,000 gaming and racing fans across the country competed in the Round 1 online time trial events within Gran Turismo 5 for a chance to make their dreams of becoming a race car driver with a professional team a reality.  The National finalists represent an elite group of Gran Turismo players who possess truly amazing driving skills.  Competitors were separated by as little as a few hundredths of a second, which became the only difference whether they advanced in the competition.

"We are blown away by the passion and enthusiasm our fans have for GT Academy," said Scott A. Steinberg, Vice President, Product Marketing, SCEA. "Gran Turismo 5's attention to detail and realism are second to none, providing the most comprehensive racing experience available and serving as a key component to the GT Academy experience.  We look forward to these top drivers competing for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become a pro race car driver."

"The response to GT Academy has been amazing," said Jon Brancheau, Vice President Marketing, Nissan. "Innovative promotions like this connect with our customers and reinforce our brand promise of performance and innovation.  I'm looking forward to meeting the 32 finalists and experiencing the excitement of the head to head finals."

During the National Finals Event, the 32 contestants will be divided into groups of four and will race in a series of live head-to-head races in Gran Turismo 5. Racing Nissan vehicles, each contestant will earn points based on the place they finish. As race difficulty increases, contestants with the fewest points at the end of each round will be eliminated until 16 remain.

The 16 finalists will advance to Phase Two of GT Academy, where they will compete against each other in a series of challenges, going behind-the-wheel of real Nissan race cars, for a chance to become a professional race car driver and the official GT Academy winner for the U.S. The winner will have the opportunity to train with an elite racing team and will work towards a debut as part of a professional team.  For full terms and conditions and more information about GT Academy please visit: http://us.gran-turismo.com/us/

With features to suit newcomers, automotive enthusiasts and seasoned fans, Gran Turismo 5 has raised the bar on the franchise's quality of design, physics and technology, while delivering an ultra-realistic driving experience with unparalleled visuals and lifelike graphics that are difficult to distinguish from a live race.  Gran Turismo 5 features a brand new physics engine for an improved and more realistic, and responsive, driving feel across the board, as well as real-time vehicle damage and wear, with adaptive and accurate car deformation based on point of impact and velocity.

About Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC

Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC continues to redefine the entertainment lifestyle with its PlayStation® and PS one® systems, the PlayStation®2 system, the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system, the ground-breaking PlayStation®3 (PS3™) system and its online and network services the PlayStation®Network and PlayStation®Store.

Recognized as the undisputed industry leader, Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC markets the PlayStation family of products and develops, publishes, markets, and distributes software for the PS one, PlayStation 2, PSP and PS3 systems for the North American market.  Based in Foster City, California, Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC serves as headquarters for all North American operations and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

Visit us on the Web at http://www.us.playstation.com

About Gran Turismo®

With more than 56 million units sold worldwide, the award-winning Gran Turismo® franchise for the PlayStation®, PlayStation®2 and PLAYSTATION®3 is regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulation ever created due to its true-to-life graphics, physics and real-life cars and tracks. Since the inception of the Gran Turismo franchise, famed creator Kazunori Yamauchi and Polyphony Digital Inc. in Japan have revolutionized the racing category as we know it today. His offerings provide the gamer with the most true-to-life driving simulation within the industry and a unique medium for automotive manufacturers to showcase their products.

About Nissan

In North America, Nissan's operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing.  Nissan also sells racing and performance parts through its Nissan Motorsports and NISMO parts line. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program 2010 and has been recognized as a 2010 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and http://www.nissandriven.com/ www.InfinitiUSA.com.

Visit us on the Web at http://www.us.playstation.com

SOURCE Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC