The Precursor: LA to SilverstoneNissan Xterra, which is ensconced in a miniscule parking structure at London’s Heathrow airport. The diesel-fed SUV’s racks nearly hit the ceiling, and its wide width occupies two spots. “This week, you’ll likely see all four seasons. Welcome to English weather.” An hour and a half later, we arrive at the famed Silverstone Circuit, the self-proclaimed birthplace of British motorsport. I’m here for of the final round of Sony PlayStation/Nissan North America’s inaugural Gran Turismo Academy. In two days, a champion will be crowned. The 16 remaining American contestants earned their passages to England by beating nearly 53,000 other Gran Turismo 5 gamers. These men are the best of the best in the virtual world, but here in England, virtual prowess counts for little — it’s time to live in the real world. At Silverstone, they’ll be challenged with physical, mental, and social tasks they need to master to become real race-car drivers. Directly adjacent to Silverstone’s Stowe Circuit is a temporary Race Camp where contestants sleep, eat, and entertain themselves. Day after day, with American television cameras pointed in their faces and a panel of ex-racers analyzing their every move, the drivers lay it on… Read full this story
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