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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: 2010
By Wererat on 12/6/2009 11:25:50 PM , Rating: 2
OK ... well, without echoing Stubeck's comments I would definitely have to disagree that one needs to be a PS3 sim-racer to be a car fan.

I've invested time and resources heavily into PC racing, starting with the legendary Grand Prix Legends (well, even Papy's Indycar Racing but GPL was when I got 'serious') and the venerable Logitech Wingman Force FF. I have a pile of sims and wheels about, including a Logi G25.

However that's 11 years of sim-driving investment and I can't just toss money about randomly.

Rather than get into sim realism arguments, let's just say that for me to consider a PS3 investment for the latest Gran Turismo release is a compliment to GT.


RE: 2010
By The0ne on 12/7/2009 11:03:44 AM , Rating: 2
I'm in the same boat as you actually. Been playing driving sims for quite a long time myself, since the c64 days until Test Drive on the Amiga really got me hooked :) I don't own a PS3 either and there are 2 games that may persuade me to buy one when they come out, GT and FF13. But we'll see. I'm like the collecting and the specs myself and not so much the racing in GT. Like I said, people like different things in GT :)

As for what Stubeck said, GT brought tons of fans because it offered so many choices for the player, not to mention the amount of vehicles. Graphic was well blended and nice for it's time. Even nicer if you run it on PC with some filtering and stuff on.

Point is, Polyphony has taken their time with the game and it really does show in almost every aspect. The graphics alone is amazing even compare to what we have on PC now.


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