M or more than a million PS3 owners have the chance of theirs Harnessed life and downloaded the Gran Turismo Time Trial to participate in the GT Academy. In the first phase, the players had to set virtual best times with a Nissan 370Z on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Thrilling Germany finale at the Nürburgring
The twenty fastest drivers in Germany met on Saturday (February 6th) in the world of adventure at the Ringwerk Nürburgring to choose the master at the console - also in virtual duels. The playground was arranged like an intersection of four flat screens, in front of which there are special racing seats with steering wheel and pedals. Because it is not only important to have a fingertip feeling but also a sensitive foot on the gas pedal, all candidates started without shoes. 'This is the only way to get the best line,' says one participant, adding: 'It's not a game, it's motorsport perfection down to the last detail.'
It's a game that is no longer a game
After several preliminary runs, the four finalists headed for the Nordschleife to survive three laps in a Nissan 370 Z. With a change of leadership in literally the last second, Steffen Christein won the final race after 22.36 minutes. On the Döttinger Höhe, the 19-year-old pulled in the slipstream of the leading Christian Giere to swap places at the last possibility - Antonis beech - at 280 km /h. A superfluous maneuver, since the two fastest Germans move into the international final, but Steffen says: 'It's like in real motorsport. I drive to win, there is risk involved.' An experience that the favorite Oliver Schätzmüller, who started from Pole, had already in the second lap and fell back after an unfortunate spin. In the end he crossed the finish line in ungrateful third place. Second placed Christian Giere could hardly believe his luck, but 'this is how the around 5,000 virtual laps on the Nordschleife were worth it.'
From virtuality to reality
The two winners from Germany will now head to the legendary Silverstone racetrack for the international final at the end of February, where there are no more virtual drives. There are a number of exhausting tests on the program, in which not only theDriver qualities, but also the physical and mental condition of the participants are tested. In a tough, bootcamp-style physical training session, the experts will take a close look at the participants. Steffen Christein is confident of asserting himself against the international competition, as he already competed at the first GT Academy in Silverstone, although at that time he had just got his driver's license and hardly any driving experience. 'Now I am well prepared and can also show on the asphalt that I have what it takes to be a racing driver,' says Christein confidently.
From the console to the 24h race in Dubai
The GT Academy wants to prove that a virtual racing world can produce real racing talent. At the first competition in 2008/09, Lucas Ordoñez, a 23-year-old Spanish student, made the leap from his Playstation 3 to a full-fledged racing driver through the GT Academy. His racing debut took place at the 24-hour race in Dubai in 2009 alongside former Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert. In order for the concept 'from virtuality to reality' to work again in 2010, only drivers without a racing license from the following countries are allowed to take part: Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Great Britain, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The new racing driver will be chosen in Silverstone at the beginning of March.
With the Mercedes SLS AMG over the Nordschleife
If you yourself in want to drive the racing simulation Gran Turismo 5 over the Nordschleife, a visit to the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart is worthwhile. There you not only get the opportunity to experience the virtual implementation of the 'Green Hell', but even take a seat in the new Mercedes SLS AMG sports car.
Until March 28, 2010 the Mercedes-Benz Museum presents from Tuesday until Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Gran Turismo 5 SLS AMG Driving Experience. Entry to the passage is free. Further information is available from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Customer Center on 0711/17 - 30 000 or online at www.mercedes-benz.com/museum.