You might remember this happening last May, but this was all news to me. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe teamed up with Nissan a year ago to find great Gran Turismo 5 Prologue players and place them into GT Academy. The three best racers from each participating country were taken out to a track with the Nissan team and slowly whittled down until two drivers remained. These drivers then went on receive in-depth training and joined the Nissan PlayStation team at a 24-hour endurance race in Dubai. That Dubai race showed that the GT Academy winner, Lucas Ordoñez, had some real-life racing chops, though the team finished 45th.
OK, that should catch you up to more recent events. Ordoñez has continued racing and, according to Autoblog, the video game racer has taken third place at Silverstone this weekend, the first weekend in the GT4 series. A release from the series organizers quoted the driver as saying:
“I was really pushing hard in the last corners, trying to overtake the BMW. I could tell that he was losing grip on his rear tyres, they'd worn out quite a bit, and I managed to overtake him in the last corner. I'm really happy to have got third and the podium in my first race in GT4, it's great for me. We'll try to get first in Adria in Italy, like Alex managed to get at the start of the race.”
Though Ordoñez apparently had some minor on-track experience prior to winning GT Academy, this still appears to be the first case of a driver coming up in a video game, then transitioning those skills into real-life success. Pretty amazing stuff, if you ask me. What do you think? Has playing driving video games made you a better driver?