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December 3, 2009 // 8:19 am - Update: For those curious, reports that the Gran Turismo 5 Time Trial demo is now on the Japanese PlayStation Store, weighing in at 201MB in size and playable in English.

Today Sony's European Brand Manager Penrose Tackie has announced that GT Academy 2010 launches on December 17th with a downloadable Time Trial.

He also shared a trailer video and some GT5 demo details, as follows:

Following the groundbreaking success of the GT Academy last year and as part of our activities around the forthcoming launch of Gran Turismo 5, I am delighted to officially unveil GT Academy 2010.

On 17th December exclusively via the PlayStation store, we will be launching the GT Academy 2010 Time Trial. The time trial will be the only way into this year's Academy, and if you've got what it takes it could be the start of a life-changing journey.

Last year the GT Academy programme unearthed a real driving talent in the form of Lucas Ordonez from Spain, who after winning the GT Academy went on to drive for the Nissan PlayStation race team and take an astonishing second place in the GT4 Championship - all in his first season!

This time around the Academy is even bigger and better, and competition is bound to be pretty fierce - perhaps best of all though for Gran Turismo fans, it will be the first opportunity to get a hands-on taster as to what Yamauchi-san and his Polyphony team have been carefully crafting and polishing at their Tokyo base.

Qualify in the top twenty within your country and you will be invited to a national final event, where you will pit your wits against the best Gran Turismo drivers in the country. If you make it from there only then will you join the elite 20 that will be taken into the GT Academy 2010.

Only the two best drivers will make it out of this 5 day test of nerve and skill. From there will follow an intensive driver training schedule from which we will select our one GT Academy ace.

The time trial features the stunning Nissan 370Z in two guises. Firstly a blisteringly fast, race-tuned monster and secondly an only slightly less fearsome non-tuned version.

The 370Z is the most recent of the new range of cars wearing the famous 'Z' brand revived by Japanese manufacturer Nissan. The car has been specially chosen for its challenging but hugely entertaining rear-wheel drive dynamics and the time trial should allow GT novices and veterans alike to get a real idea of what its like to get to grips with this sensational car.

To enter the Academy racers will have to post their best overall leaderboard times negotiating a specially created section of a new Gran Turismo 5 circuit. This best time will be a composite of two separate runs - one with the tuned vehicle and the other with the non-tuned version.

You will have the opportunity to keep refining your overall best time from the launch of the demo right up until the close of this time trial stage at 24.00 CET on 24th January 2010.

To give a flavour of what the GT Academy is all about, check out this trailer.

The GT Academy will run in the following countries:

• Ireland
• France
• Switzerland
• Italy
• Germany
• Austria
• Denmark
• Norway
• Finland
• Sweden
• Spain
• Portugal
• Netherlands
• Belgium
• Australia
• New Zealand

However gamers in countries not mentioned on the list need not fear as there will be a special Gran Turismo 5 Time Trial Challenge for them to get to grips with it, too.

If you want to keep up to date with what's happening with GT5 and the GT Academy 2010 keep checking back on the PlayStation.Blog and also check out the following links:

GT fans get ready to start your engines!

Video: GT Academy 2010 Begins December 17th with Time Trial

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#3 - PS4 News - December 17, 2009 // 5:20 am
PS4 News's Avatar
I updated the first post... it's now available from the JP PS Store (201MB) and is playable in English.

#2 - spark32 - December 4, 2009 // 2:07 am
spark32's Avatar
Can I just download it from my UK account when it's released?

#1 - smarty94 - December 4, 2009 // 12:43 am
smarty94's Avatar
Good news: A (non tradeshow) GT 5 demo at last!

Bad News: No US residents and only 1.5 cars.

Well that's pretty good overal, I didn't really have much of a chance of placing anyway.