GT Academy Champions Team Up for 24 Hours of Dubai

December 15th, 2011 by Jordan

Nissan and PlayStation are aiming to demonstrate the success of their  GT Academy programme with a ground-breaking driver line-up at the prestigious Dubai 24 Hours (January 12-14, 2012). All four winners of the innovative virtual-to-reality competition will tackle the demanding endurance race as a team sharing the wheel of a 410bhp Nissan 370Z.

  • Lucas Ordoñez (26, Madrid, Spain) – winner of the first GT Academy in 2008, second place in the LMP2 class at Le Mans 2011, winner of the Le Mans Intercontinental Cup (ILMC) series and ILMC ‘Rookie of the Year’ 2011
  • Jordan Tresson (23, northern France) – winner of GT Academy 2010 and winner of the 2011 Blancpain Endurance Series
  • Jann Mardenborough (20, Cardiff, Great Britain) – winner of this year’s GT Academy
  • Bryan Heitkotter (30, California, USA) – winner of GT Academy USA 2011 – will become the first-ever all-gamer-turned-real-racer team to tackle a major international race.

There will certainly be skeptics about the team’s capabilities, as Darren Cox, Nissan International’s European chief marketing manager for sports cars, addresses: “Is it a risk to have four drivers in the same car when even the most experienced had never raced before 2008? Definitely not. They said we were crazy when we launched the programme and the GT Academy team keep proving the doubters wrong. All eyes will be on them again in Dubai and they won’t let Nissan or PlayStation down.”

“It will be an exciting day for me on 13th January when the Dubai 24 Hour race gets underway with a team full of GT Academy champions,” echoed Kazunori Yamauchi. “In the past few years a lot of top works teams and famous drivers have raced in Dubai. The success of the GT Academy programme since its debut in 2008 means that they will not take the challenge of the GT Academy Nissan 370Z lightly. The motor sport world certainly took notice of the raw talent that has emerged from Gran Turismo through our GT Academy partnership with Nissan when Lucas stood on the podium at Le Mans. In Dubai we shall give them even more to think about.”

Keep an eye out for full coverage of the Dubai 24 Hours here on GTPlanet next month!

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  1. Gtftw00

    Too bad that the academy was only for 10 countries! How is that suppose to be fair …
    If there should be any academy at all, it should be for everyone!

  2. i’ve post a link to a video about this in comments 5 days ago and it still doesn’t show up if not connected. Sleepy moderator?

  3. TokoTurismo

    Ohhoho. :D If they win, we’ll love to get the Dubai 24hr and other sections of the track into GT5. That’ll be so cool. :) But the classic GT tracks must come first. ;) We hope the best and wishes even dreams to come you four. :D We’re with you in the track all the way. ;)

  4. davepierce07

    All the very best to all the GT Academy winners, for the 24hr of Dubai. Should be a very exciting race…;-))…

  5. Tallgeese69

    Props to all four of them. On another note shouldn’t we be able to get the tracks they drive on as DLC? I mean come on why can’t we try our hand at it even in the game? O.o

  6. GTRufus

    next DLC for GT5: Dubai 24h track ;p

  7. pasigiri

    Is PD going to make Dubai track available in GT5?

  8. CanoeTTT

    I had the chance to meet Bryan at Mid Ohio this year and was impressed. I have to believe the other 3 are solid young men as well.

    It would be great to see them on the podium in their first team effort.

    Good Racing to them!

  9. Vince_Fiero

    It proves PD has the focus on the right place, people that are interested in racing, not games. OK GT5 is what it is, but the inspiration they bring with this event is wonderful. Make people dream, make people believe!

  10. HKS racer

    Good luck, let’s see if Kaz understand you need 4 drivers even in virtual 24h. Ok, mid race save is ok
    but I still feel the need of more features in endurance races. Expecially better stats when you are racing with strategies. We need to know if we are gaining or loosing time not only compared to 1st place but also compared to driver 1 or 2 positions behind us. That’s crucial expecially online.

  11. Go Team Turismo!!!!

  12. AltezzaSXE10

    This is so exciting- best of luck gentlemen! Can’t wait to watch your performance and the race.

  13. BlacqueJacques

    Good luck and good race to the four of you!

  14. Can’t help but think how proud they make me feel to say that I’m a GT5 sim racer like they are! Way to go Lucas, Jordon, Jann & Bryan. Good luck and make us proud!!!

  15. MustangCobra95

    Good luck GT Academy winners!! Also Will their 370Z be included as future DLC? I would really love to drive that car!

  16. EVODUDE999

    PD needs to make the cars they race in real life and put them in the game! i like the half red and half black 370Zs the GT team race.

  17. another_jakhole

    The youngest and oldest GT Academy champions are standing next to each other and they’re also the newest GT Academy winners. This race is going to prove a lot for the virtual racers team if Jann and Bryan bring their best. Here’s to them! Cheers, you lucky bastards!

  18. When will we be able to race at Dubai 24h in GT5 :(

  19. This deserves more comment than DLC news does, its quite sad really.. Anyways this is going to be epic! I look forward to the race and results! Go GT Academy!

    • AcenSpades

      maybe if they win we may get their race car for dlc?? what up PD, we gonna get it or what??

  20. Radracing

    Next stop will be with KAZ with the 24hr race at the “Ring”

  21. mreedy02

    Any of u guys a tad bit jealous??

    • redreevos

      Awesome stuff. Good luck guys!

      -Does anyone know where to watch this event in the US?

    • Blessorship

      This is what I’d like to know too. Unfortunately SPEED is the only channel that shows endurance races but they are all usually ALMC or ILMC. I’m not sure if this event is either one of those. I guess we’ll have to wait until they release their January programming schedule. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

  22. Teeceezy

    Very interesting piece of histroy about to be made. There are few video game sims that can produce talent that corresponds to the real world the sim depicts. Trailblazing awesomeness!

    • Non on console give you the opportunity to become a real driver.

  23. spikeyhairdude


  24. TokoTurismo

    You guys rock, all four of you. Super awesome news I always love to hear about. :)

  25. R1600Turbo

    Go get ‘em guys!

    • ValveEasy

      That’s it; I’m calling Namco TONIGHT. Get ready for Ace Combat Academy!

  26. wavetool

    Where’s the Forza Team?

    • bwahahahahahaha!

      dang, and I seemed to have missed the whole season of “Shift 2 Academy” somehow >snort<

      Seriously, this is awesome. Props to all of them.

    • jojotizzle

      +1 lol

    • TokoTurismo

      +1 Hahaha that was a good one. XD

    • Livedog

      Deliciously sarcastic.

    • NissanGTRspecV

      Team Need For Speed

    • lol, I would love to see how “NFS Team” drives :D

      they would drive in corners full speed, that would be some spectacular crashes there :)

    • coldfoot

      They pulled into the pits after 15 laps thinking the race was over :)

    • 07_HSV_GTS

      How bout Team Dirt??

    • MyFavoriteGame

      Team Forza would make this race last at least 48 hrs…counta all the rewinding that’ll be going on. BRAAAA!!

    • TokoTurismo

      You’re so right about that, seriously. XD lol

    • maxpontiac

      They are back at Turn 10’s office trying to help the studio figure out why FM4 isn’t selling better, and how GT5 has sold 7.3 million in under a year.

    • MyFavoriteGame

      that’s an easy one…all the Forza fans are on youtube bashing GT5 instead of actually buying the game.

  27. MOTORTRENDmitch

    Lucky Men standing right there.

    • ProjectVRD

      Luck has nothing to do with it. They hammered us in the trial. Simple as that.

  28. SeaWall

    i knew this was goin to happen

    • 07_HSV_GTS

      I don’t like how on this site they talk about these kind of tracks/races but won’t put them into the game.

    • MyFavoriteGame


  29. RoarOfZonda

    Dubai is hella ill. I’d love to go

    • Projectoutlaw

      Didn’t know people still said “hella” and “ill” lol

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