Last week the 2013 GT Academy launched in the UK on the PlayStation 3, the winner of which will gain a place in a real GT motor racing team and become a fully-fledged professional racing driver. It sounds straight forward but becoming the best is a lot tougher than many may think. From the hours of practice, to the physical training required for those that make the grade, this is a complete challenge only for the most committed players.
So there are 11 races in this initial GT Academy challenge, two slow ones in the Nissan Leaf to start you off, two in the Nissan 370z increasing the pace, then onto the main GT Academy events before some bonus 15th Anniversary content in a Nissan GTR. This brings up the difficulty level gradually and gives a fair indication in the level of skill required.
Suffice to say the competition is stiff and more competitive than ever. I ran my laps as you'll see in the video below on the first day of the competition but since then the bar continues to fall. I enjoy the driving but wouldn't enjoy the constant laps trying to squeeze out performance, as with all things they reach a point where it just isn't fun any more.
I think that's the problem with competitive gaming; there will always be a top 10 - 50 players who are just a cut above. Be it talent or age, there is a point in life between 16 and 25 where your reactions are at their peak, combine that with gaming experience and you've got that edge all bundled with some youthful self-belief. I'm sounding like an old man now but I know my limitations and the work involved in achieving results, could I do it? Quite possibly, would it be a worthwhile use of my time? Probably not, either way its good fun and I'll enjoy a few casual laps just exploring the new physics.
Pressures of competition can have all kinds of effects which can force many young sports people to resign their sports at such a young age. With Andy Murray's win at Wimbledon it forces this issue more into the spotlight, so many tennis players with so much investment injected simply fade away, an expensive loss. Motorsport sees a similar set of hurdles, with motorsport budgets being so high it's important to find the right talent. Love of the activity and passion is simply not enough when results are all that matter and I think that also raises a valid point on why the GT Academy is good thing.
These are top level competitive players with proven talent and the potential to adapt that to their driving, many have never been offered an opportunity of a drive nor have the finances to make it possible and this has formed as a whole new cost effective way to discover legitimate talent, great for motorsport while the online leader boards put into perspective the task of achieving the desired results.
If you are competing and think you've got what it takes, you'll need to use a wheel, turn off TCS onto a low level, find a balance on the ABS and be prepared to do a lot of laps building consistency while finding speed. Then look online at the top players, that will give you gearing and braking techniques, applying those to your driving will generally knock off up to two seconds per lap.
After many laps refining your time it will become apparent whether you actually have what it takes to make the grade. If so you'll need to look at physical training, some PR mentoring and perhaps some regular karting to also aid in fitness as the final winner will be expected to be a complete product ready to race and thrust into the public eye.
I've been making a selection of videos for the Team VVV YouTube Channel and you can see one of those below, subscribe at http://www.youtube.com/TeamVVV for more.