Think you can drive?

GT Academy 2012 is just around the corner, so get your game face on. As revealed at the PlayStation Blog , the competition begins on May 1 and will be open to all competitors through June 24.

This year, the event will feature a "newly designed eight-step training and qualification program accessible as a demo based on the hit Gran Turismo 5 ." This demo can be downloaded for free on the PlayStation Store and "will maximize the potential of all users, from beginners to advanced drivers." Everyone will compete in a series of virtual driving trials from the virtual seats of Nissan cars, and the best will be invited to compete in the National Finals in July. At that point, the racers leave virtual reality behind and enter the real world of road racing…but are they prepared for the international Race Camp set for August?

The ultimate winner will get the chance to train with elite racecar drivers and race as part of a professional driving team, and that's no joke. Last year, that winner was Bryan Heitkotter from California, who beat out 53,000 other competitors and now races a Nissan 370Z Nismo RC in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series in the top Grand Sport Class.

Said Darren Cox, General Manager of Nissan in Europe:

"Being able to use our GT Academy graduates in our ever-growing range of top-level motorsport activities is another example of Nissan’s innovative approach to everything we do. If we didn’t believe in the drivers they wouldn’t be in those seats, but GT Academy has exceeded our original expectations and each year has provided us with some outstanding driving talent. As our drivers continue to impress on a world stage, GT Academy continues to expand. I would urge anyone that feels they have the talent to get involved and give it a go. GT Academy is a real, credible and exciting route into motorsport that will not cost you anything thanks to our partnership with PlayStation."