Tonight marks the return of Nissan’s reality TV and motorsports show, GT Academy. Nissan has been creating buzz with this ad featuring a practical joke on unsuspecting fans.
These people think they’re just going for a test-drive on a 2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo, even though they’re going at night and the “salesman” riding shotgun is sporting some conspicuous GT patches on his shirt. He makes idle chit-chat while they drive, asking them if they’re in the market for a new car and pointing out how the 370Z’s instrument panel will notify drivers when they need to shift. One of the drivers remarks how it’s almost like something out of a video game. Everything changes once the test-drive is halted by an apparent construction block.
GT Academy is a show that takes people who are good at video games and turns them into professional drivers racing under the Nissan marque. The series is produced in partnership with Sony, with the first season held in 2008. Participants qualify by racing their way to the top of a designated video game’s leaderboards. In the case of this season, the fifth, the game was Gran Turismo 6 for Playstation 4. Thirty-two gamers make it to the live finals, which includes digital faceoffs in addition to fitness testing and even some real driving.
The elite group advancing from the finals will participate in the GT Academy Race Camp at historic Silverstone raceway in England. Whosoever makes it out of the Academy on top will get to live the dream, driving a Nissan race car in the Dubai 24 Hours race.
The first show of the season airs tonight on Spike TV at 11:30. There’s only six episodes in the season and you won’t want to miss any of them.