Sony Computer Entertainment has announced that the online GT Academy competition for eager fans of PlayStation 3’s Gran Turismo 5: Prologue is set to kick off on June 2, offering gamers the chance to race a real Nissan 350Z at a 24 Hour endurance event in Dubai in January 2009.

Stage One of GT Academy kicks off next week on June 2, 2008 where players will compete to set the fastest time around the Eiger Nordwand track in a Nissan Fairlady 350Z.

National finals, Silverstone trials

July sees Stage Two, with the 20 fastest drivers from each country invited to a national final to compete head-to-head on GT5: Prologue.

The fastest three virtual drivers from each national final will then get the chance to race real-world Nissan GT-Rs at Silverstone in August.

Train to become a pro

If that wasn’t incentive enough, the overall two fastest drivers from that track day will be entered into a four month training programme to earn their racing licenses and take part in a real life race in a fully prepared Nissan 350Z at the 24 Hour endurance event in Dubai in January 2009.

Kazunori Yamauchi, Head of Polyphony Digital producers of Gran Turismo said: "This is a very exciting day for Gran Turismo. The Gran Turismo story started 10 years ago with the ambition to make a racing game that gives players the ultimate driving simulation experience. The GT Academy is the ultimate realisation of this ambition taking the Gran Turismo experience to the next level."

Full terms and conditions for GT Academy can be found at gtacademy.eu.