The challenge is on: Sony have officially begun time trials for their GTA Academy selection process, where one lucky console racer will get the chance to race the real thing on a professional racetrack in Europe.
You'll need to have access to a PS3 and the popular racing game, Grand Turismo to enter. Only entrants aged 18 and over are eligible to apply for the trials.
Interestingly, Sony are not taking entries from those who have already (or have previously owned) a professional national or international driving licence. Sony have stipulated that the rules of the contest ensure only virtual console players have a chance at the once-in-a-lifetime prize.
Drivers with racetrack experience are being left out of the loop to ensure an absolute beginner gets the chance to ultimately compete in the GTA Cup in Europe in 2010.
Online Time Trials
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To get a chance at zipping around foreign racetracks in a not-so-virtual Nissan 370Z, entrants will need to download the time trial stage from copies of Gran Turismo for the PS3, in what qualifies as the first of five stages designed to weed out the meek from the brave.
The first stage will give gamers a chance to record their best time trial laps over the Playstation network on the PS3. In the second stage, the top 20 fastest online lap times from each country will qualify for the national final event in Australia next year.
And if this all sounds too good to be true, just remember that it has been done before. In 2008/2009, the GT Academy launched for the first time and Spanish University student Lucas Ordoñez became the first console racer to graduate to professional track driver.
Ordoñez' console skills were so refined, that it gave the gamer the chance to prove his mettle on the real course and helped him go on to win a series of big races during the 2009 GTA Cup season.
It might be a million to one shot, but you never know your luck. It just takes one good lap to get to the next stage. Will you be the next GT Academy graduate? You've got to 11:59pm on January 24th 2010 to feel the need for speed. After that, your date with destiny, and the time trial runs out.