Two past winners of the U.S. GT Academy—the annual Nissan/PlayStation contest that seeks to put virtual driving champs in real-world racecars—will campaign a 2014 Nissan Altima in this year's Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSCC).
Now, the 2014 Nissan Altima may not be the first Nissan you think of when you think of motorsports, but the car is having some modest success in Australia's V8 Supercars series, and the two pilots for the Continental series, Bryan Heitkotter and Steve Doherty, also ran an Altima in the 2014 Sebring endurance race. In fact, the same group that supported Heitkotter and Doherty at Sebring will be backing the pair again during the CTSCC season. Said Lara Tallman, owner of that CA Sport/Skullcandy team and co-manager with professional racecar driver Vesko Kozarev: “It’s so great to have Steve and Bryan racing with us in the 34 Altima all season. They bring a lot of energy and the interaction between all of the drivers, combined with Vesko’s experience is something that I believe will make the whole team better as we move forward.”
The first race of the CTSCC season is scheduled for Saturday, May 3, at the "Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda," with practice and qualifying held on May 2. More information is available at www.IMSA.com, which is the website for the International Motor Sports Association that sanctions the racing, and enthusiasts can watch the event on FOX Sports 1, although the broadcast will be tape-delayed until May 11.
As for the competition to be the 2014 Nissan GT Academy driving champion, that kicked off earlier in April but is still ongoing, so digital drivers who know their way around Gran Tursimo 6 for the PlayStation can visit www.NissanUSA.com/GTAcademyShow/ for rules and regulations.
The party line from Darren Cox, global head of Brand Marketing and Sales for Nissan's NISMO performance division: "We are looking forward to discovering even more new stars in 2014. Anyone who thinks they have what it takes should give GT Academy a go. Not everyone can win, but the experience is hugely rewarding at every stage of the competition."
The production model of the 2014 Nissan Altima? It's on sale now with pricing that starts at $22,170.