By now most people have heard the first installment of the remarkable rise to prominence of Spanish virtual-to-real racing driver Lucas Ordonez. Four years ago, Lucas was an MBA student who liked playing Gran Turismo on his Playstation. He entered a contest among Gran Turismo's 60 million players, won the opportunity amongst 20 others to drive a real race car and try out for a spot in the Dubai 24 Hour race. He won the challenge, and he's been on the podium in almost every race since, leveraged his opportunity into a full-time racing career. As I write this, they're warming up his car for the first practice session of the world's most famous race - the Le Mans 24 Hour. Whatsmore, based on his recent results, he stands a good chance of winning! That's him in the centre, with the big trophy. Geeks interested in following the fortunes of one of their own can follow the links to track Lucas in the weekend's big race.
Everyone who has ever played a video game knows that the skills required for success are essentially the same as a racing driver. Anyone who has raced knows different. So setting up the Nissan/Playstation GT Academy was bound to yield some interesting results. Essentially, they run a national contest and the best guys get tested in real cars and given an intensive program and then given a chance at the real thing, at a very high level. This is the inevitable fairy story – a fellow who played Playstation for fun until May 2008 has since established a successful international racing career entirely due to the series. Every time Lucas Ordoñez
has been given the opportunity, he has performed, and his international racing career is living proof that you can turn virtual racing into the real deal.
If you're car racing gamer and fancy yourself a bit behind the wheel of a console or PC, you'll be thrilled to hear of the rise and rise of Lucas Ordoñez, the world’s first virtual to real life racing driver. Lucas won the Nissan/PlayStation GT Academy 2008, a competition designed with the express purpose of taking a champion Gran Turismo gamer and turning them into a real life racing driver. Lucas had his first hit-out in the first round of the highly competitive European GT4 series at the weekend and ended on the podium, filling Gran Turismo's 50 million devotees with hope that a new route to international motorsport is about to open.