Sony’s Gran Turismo Award Winners

Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA) hosted its ninth annual Gran Turismo® Awards at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show last night at the Marquee Nightclub in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, embracing the passion of customizing cars and showcasing the efforts in the Gran Turismo®, one of the top-selling game titles of all time.  Each year, the Gran Turismo Awards offer SEMA show exhibitors the opportunity to join the ranks of the famed Gran Turismo racing fleet, awarding one car the honor of being added to the Gran Turismo franchise as a playable car in the game and driven virtually by millions across the globe.  After heavy deliberation over dozens of entries, the judging panel and Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi himself, crowned “Best Hot Rod” winner, Mary Pozzi for her 1971 custom Chevrolet Camaro as the 2011 “Best of Show.” “For the past nine years, the Gran Turismo Awards has recognized and rewarded automotive enthusiasts who demonstrate passion and enthusiasm for PlayStation games, and amazing car design and performance,” said Kazunori Yamauchi, famed creator of the Gran Turismo franchise and President of Polyphony Digital Inc.  “We continue to be blown away by the quality of the vehicles that are submitted and are excited to add Mary’s custom Chevy Camaro to our list of distinguished winners and to the Gran Turismo franchise.” Additional prizes were awarded to: •        “Best Truck/SUV” – Casey Scranton •        “Best Domestic Car” – Filip Trojanek •         “Best Asian Import” – Mike Mixon •        “Best European Import” – Mark Arcenal •        “Best Hot Rod” – Mary Pozzi This year’s Gran Turismo Awards followed the success of another franchise program, GT Academy.  In its US debut, SCEA, Polyphony Digital Inc., in collaboration with Nissan  North America to give consumers a chance to pursue the dream to become a real race car driver through Gran Turismo 5.  The winner, Bryan Heitkotter, beat out over 53,000 competitors who registered for GT Academy and is now a Nissan-sponsored professional race car driver and part of a four-person team that will race the 24-hour race in Dubai in January 2012.  Heitkotter’s journey with GT Academy is currently being shown on the Speed Channel, PlayStation®Network, and Hulu,via a reality show series that chronicles the competition and the winner's road to stardom. The Gran Turismo franchise is recognized as the world’s best and most authentic driving simulator. Gran Turismo 5, now available in stereoscopic 3D, offers more than 1,000 licensed cars from the world’s top manufacturers and more than 20 tracks with 70 variations, including famous world circuits, city courses, and other environments. Featuring exciting gameplay to suit newcomers, automotive enthusiasts, and seasoned fans, Gran Turismo 5 truly raises the bar on delivering an ultra-realistic driving experience with unparalleled visuals and lifelike graphics that are difficult to distinguish from a live race. About Judging For The Gran Turismo Awards Prior to SEMA 2011, all exhibitors were invited to enter their vehicles into the Gran Turismo Awards, which honor five different categories comprised of: “Best Domestic Automobile,” “Best European Import,” “Best Hot Rod,” “Best Asian Import,” and “Best Truck/SUV.”  Judges consisted of various respected automotive journalists representing media outlets such as Motor Trend, CNET, and Super Street with judging for each category based on a balance between performance, style, and speed.  Yamauchi then bestows the “Best in Show” award honor to one of these five category winners.