Dhani Jones on Gran Turismo Academy
November, 8, 2012
By Lynn Hoppes | ESPN.com
It's hard to fathom, but a video game player with the right skills has the chance to become a pro race car driver.
More than 400,000 gamers of PlayStation's Gran Turismo 5 have been competing for the shot to make a Nissan race team, and Spike TV is broadcasting the competition. The next episode airs tonight at 11:30.
"The virtual world is ingrained in actual reality," said host Dhani Jones, who played 10 years in the NFL and has been a TV broadcaster ever since. "All you're doing is moving one steering wheel to the next, and it's all about practicing. The military world already uses the simulation the same way."
The top 16 gamers advanced to the world-famous Silverstone race course in Europe and will compete in various challenges to find an eventual winner.
"Track legends are born and track legends are trained there," Jones said. "It's such a hallowed ground for racing. This is a dream for a lot of them."
Jones said he isn't a big-time gamer but has respect for the industry.
"I never sat down for 4-5 hours, five days in a row like a lot of these guy do," Jones said. "But these guys are really good. We're putting them in real seats and see how it translates."