Text: Mac Avendano / Photos: Nissan GT Academy Press | posted July 31, 2013 15:46
Nissan GT Academy alumni will take on USA racecar competition
Nissan GT Academy champions Steve Doherty, Lucas Ordonez, and Bryan Heitkotter will have their skills tested on some of the challenging US-based sports car racing this August.
Doherty (2012 US GT Academy champion), Ordonez (2008 European GT Academy champion), and Heitkotter (2011 US GT Academy champion) will each be driving a Nissan 370Z NISMO for different races this August. The gamer-turned-racers will be go pedal to the metal at the Pirelli World Challenge (Doherty and Ordonez) and the Continental Challenge events (Heitkotter).
The program debunked the idea that video game racers cannot be trained to become true professional racecar drivers. After five years, Nissan GT Academy can now boast of launching eight racing careers from their alumni roster. Ordonez, who has been professional for five years now, have two podium finishes already at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Petit Le Mans. Heitkotter went from being an unemployed autocross driver in California to racing in Europe in just a matter of three months, all thanks to the academy. The latest addition to the champion alumni roster is Doherty who bested the competition in late 2012.
Since Kazunori Yamauchi’s inception of Gran Turismo, the game became an award-winning franchise and built a reputation for the best and most authentic driving simulation available for consoles. These days, Nissan GT Academy alumni grab the attention of veteran road racers on events.