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Gran Turismo 5  (Source: Sony)

Lucas Ordonez didn't have the money to race professionally. However, his obsessive play of the realistic racing sim Gran Turismo on Playstation consoles earned him the right to compete in real world racing. Now he has his first victory under his belt and is one of Europe's hottest new racers.  (Source: PC Authority)
Driver is competing -- and winning -- races he once played in video games

Lucas Ordoñez always loved cars and dreamed of being a professional race driver when he grew up.  In 2008, though, he had abandoned that dream as he lacked the finances necessary to become a professional racer.  The 22-year-old instead indulged in his passion by playing Gran Turismo and other racing games, when he wasn't working on his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

His life dramatically changed when Sony held a European PlayStation competition looking for the best "virtual driver" in Europe according to PC Authority.  Ordoñez, who lives in Spain, bested almost 25,000 of his fellow auto enthusiasts and won, gaining the chance to represent his nation at the Playstation GT academy, a special camp designed to help the hardcore console racing gaming geeks transition their skills into real world racing.

At the camp, Ordoñez proved a natural at racing in real world cars.  He found his "experience to be consistent in the laps and to know the perfect line in the tracks" had helped him to be able to recognize real-world braking points.  However, much work remained.  In the latter half of 2008, Ordoñez continued to work on his MBA and in the meantime hired a personal trainer to whip him into the shape necessary to handle the G-forces which professional racers experience.

On the weekends he competed in smaller European races in order to obtain his international race drivers 'C' license, which requires a certain amount of track time at national certified tracks.  Most of these races were RJN Motorsport Team events held in the UK.

It wasn't long before Ordoñez received his license.  And he didn't start small -- he took off to compete in the famous GTA Dubai International 24 Hour race in 2009.  Racing in a Nissan 350Z, he completed 451 laps and 2431km in 24 hr.  That impressive performance earned him a 9th place finish, and put him in a tie with English former F1 Gun, Johnny Herbert.

Then came an even greater accomplishment.  Ordoñez won the European GTA Cup for RJN Motorsport, a very high profile event.  Ordoñez now appears poised to enjoy a very successful and financially rewarding racing career, all thanks to his gaming experience.

Encouraged by the success, this year Sony is planning an even bigger 2010 GT Academy.  Gamers will compete in five stages.  The first two stages will give gamers a chance to compete in the unreleased Gran Turismo 5, which is due out in March 2010 (a prologue version is currently available).  The next stage will put those who prevail in the camp with real world race cars.  Couch potato gamers beware -- a fourth stage will pit the two best real-world drivers against each other mental, but also athletic tests, to show their mettle. 

Much like Ordoñez, one lucky winner will get the chance to drive a Nissan 370Z prepared by RJN Motorsport in May 2010's European GT4 Cup.

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RE: See kids
By Reclaimer77 on 12/5/2009 8:52:09 PM , Rating: 2
hahah hey, disagreement makes the world go 'round m8 :)

Yes on TV both sports are different I would imagine. I think I made a comment about seeing Nascar live before making judgment, cause I'm told it's quite exciting in person.

But to me Formula 1 on TV is worst because everytime I watch a F1 race, there is no suspense or drama. The winner is usually established after the first 10 laps, where he pulls away from everyone else and there is no contest for first place. The tracks are too tight, so there are very few places for good passes, or any passing at all. Pit stops are also boring. Cars with the jacks build into them ? Give me a break, why would you take the skill out of pit stops like that ?

Also if Nascar is so boring or whatever, then how come it's dominating Kart or Indy Car ( or whatever they call themselves these days ) in the same country ? It's the same basic type of car as F1 with the same type road courses. And yet, nobody watches it. The sport has been in constant financial trouble for years.

Didn't F1 also make a bunch of safety changes and slowing down of the cars after a well known driver lost both his legs and several died in crashes though ? I remember them going to grooved tires and other things to slow the cars down. Am I wrong here ? Every sport makes such changes because drivers dying is something nobody wants to see, plus it costs the business end money.

I just don't see the need for people to sling cultural insults about the sport. I've never said F1 was for a bunch of wine sniffing stuck up homosexual europeans did I ? Nope.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
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