British GT rejects Sony PS3 GT Academy drivers from 2013 series
PS3 GT Academy drivers have been deemed too fast for British GT3 Pro-Am series.
The British GT3 series has rejected applications from Sony's PS3 GT Academy to race in the 2013 series because, essentially, the drivers are too fast, reports GTPlanet.
The odd situation has arisen following the outstanding success of previous GT Academy entrants. If you're not familiar with the program, the GT Academy is the promotional brainchild of Sony PlayStation Europe, which has built a real-life Nissan-backed racing franchise on the popularity of its Gran Turismo driving simulation game. Every year, PS3 virtual racers are given the opportunity to enter an online racing completion, with the winners ultimately given the chance to prove their wares in the real world. GT Academy says that since its inception in 2008, over 2 million would-be racers have entered the worldwide competition.
The resulting race program has been very successful. Jann Mardenborough was the first GT Academy winner to race in the British GT, driving an RJN Motorsport Nissan GT-R GT3 entry. However, the class pro-am rules dictate that a professional racer is paired with an amateur, or "gentleman” driver. Typically, the amateur should be some way off the pace of the pro driver. However, Mardenborough proved to be as quick as the leading drivers and nearly took out the series with his teammate Alex Buncombe. In response, the British GT3 has knocked back the application from RJN Motorsport, which was planning on entering two cars with four GT Academy winners for 2013.
"[GT Academy] has shown itself to be a great way to source raw talent and turn that into real racing talent as we saw in British GT last year with Jann Mardenborough,” said series manager Benjamin Franassovici. "However Nissan's ability to find such amazing raw talent means that we cannot accept their full season entry for British GT in 2013.” he added. "Their talent, going on Jann's speed last year, doesn't reflect this lack of experience so it is not fair to put them up against our Pro/Gentleman grid, the basis of British GT3.”
Nissan is expected to outline RJN Motorsport's program for the 2013 calendar year on February 26. While the team won't be racing in the 2013 British GT series proper, it is still possible that they will be able to make an invitational appearance at some point during the series. Endurance races are also on the agenda for the 2012 GT Academy winners, which include Wolfgang Reip (2012 European winner from Belgium), Mark Shulzhitskiy (2012 Russian winner), Peter Pyzera (2012 German winner) and Steve Doherty (2012 US winner).