Drawn from a pool of over 400,000 who had competed for a spot through Gran Turismo 5, 32 virtual racers battled it out this week at Jolt’n Joe’s Restaurant in San Diego in the GT Academy North American finals. Two days of competition decided the top 16 who will now move onto the final phase of the competition at Silverstone racing circuit in the U.K.

The 16 finalists are no doubt looking to emulate the success of 2008 GT Academy winner Lucas Ordoñez. Having secured a podium finish in his first appearance in the European GT4 series in 2009, Ordoñez proved that it’s possible to translate driving skills honed in Gran Turismo to real world racing success.

The driving skills of the latest batch of GT Academy North America finalists will by put under the microscope by an expert panel of racing professionals who will judge the competitors’ potential to become a professional racer at a week-long boot camp at the Silverstone this August. This will be televised on Spike TV's GT Academy TV series later in the year.

The top driver will then receive training from professional racing drivers and compete in selected races for a Nissan racing team.

Source: PlayStation Blog