ITV4 to screen GT Academy

Nissan's unique search for a sportscar star of the future to get six-programme coverage.

ITV4 will be broadcasting a series of six programmes covering the innovative Nissan PlayStation GT Academy contest.

GT Academy challenges the conventions of motorsport by taking some of the fastest PlayStation gamers in the world and fast tracking one of them to become a professional racing driver with Nissan. The series of high octane, character-driven programmes will be broadcast on ITV4 on Mondays at 8pm, with the first programme airing on 4 February. Each episode will be repeated on Saturday early evening and Sunday morning slots.

The ITV4 show charts the incredible journey that started with a massive entry list of 830,000 gamers from 14 participating European countries. From each country, the fastest players on PlayStation's legendary video game Gran Turismo 5, qualified for a national final event, bringing the worlds of virtual and real racing ever closer.

The six winners from the UK and Ireland national final arrived at the GT Academy Race Camp at the world famous Silverstone Circuit in August 2012, where the transition from virtual expert to real racing driver began. Not for the fainthearted, contestants were put through their paces in a gruelling set of driving, physical and mental challenges designed to measure what it takes to become a modern day professional racing driver. The programme discovers who has the winning mentality and who will crack under the intense pressure.

ITV4, home of much of ITV's extensive sports coverage, has recruited Irish television presenter Craig Doyle to capture all the highs and lows of GT Academy. Doyle follows the progress of the six competitors, as they face a series of knockout challenges judged by a panel of experts, including former British GP Formula One winner Johnny Herbert.

At stake, the opportunity to represent the UK and Ireland in a final battle against the best of Europe to determine who will be crowned the overall GT Academy Champion.

Tensions run high in this winner-takes-all format, with the ultimate prize to undergo a comprehensive driver development programme before racing a full race-spec Nissan 370Z GT4 car at the prestigious Dubai International 24 Hour race in January 2013.

GT Academy 2012 marked the fourth iteration of this motorsport talent-spotting contest, which has seen former winners transformed from PlayStation console racers into Nissan Le Mans 24 Hours racing drivers within just three years. The ITV4 GT Academy series takes viewers on a unique journey from the sofa to a real race track, as contestants slug it out to determine who will be the next virtual-to-reality professional racing driver. The GT Academy series explores the art and science of motorsport, delivering race-fuelled action and emotional must-see moments that will keep racing fans and gamers alike on the edge of their seats.

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