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Gran Turismo gamers race in real life — and win

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Two drivers, chosen for a racing academy because of their skill at Gran Turismo, won an endurance race in Australia this weekend.

Wolfgang Reip and Florian Strauss won the Bathurst 12 Hour race in New South Wales. Both are graduates of the Gran Turismo Academy, created in 2008 by Sony, GT developer Polyphony Digital, and Nissan.

The program culls the best drivers online down to those with real world potential, puts them through a race driving course, and then finds a spot for them in a real event.

Reip and Strauss worked with a third driver, Katsumasa Chiyo, who was not a GT Academy graduate and had the best time of the three on the team. The three drove an RJN Motorsport Nissan GTR-35. Eurogamer notes that Chiyo passed two cars on the next-to-last lap to take the lead and victory.

Jann Mardenborough, who won the 2011 Gran Turismo Academy search, is expected to drive in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this June.

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