FIA Certified Gran Turismo Championships 2021 announced, starts April 21

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Yesterday, Gran Turismo developer Polyphony Digital Inc. and motorsport governing body FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) announced the FIA Certified Gran Turismo Championships 2021 Series, with Stage One starting April 21.

The Championship Series includes two different competitions: the Nations Cup, in which individual players represent their country, and the Manufacturer Series, in which players represent their favourite manufacturers. Full details about the competition format, point system, eligible countries, and so on can be found at the Gran Turismo website.

The competition is open to anyone with a copy of Gran Turismo Sport who is 18 or over and from a participating country. On race days (Wednesdays and Saturdays), players can join through the Sport mode of GT Sport. There’ll be two open Online Stages, the first running from April 21 to June 26, and the second from July 7 to September 25. The top players from those rounds will move on to the World Series, before the World Finals in December crowns the best Gran Turismo players in the world.

Here’s the breakdown of the Gran Turismo Championships 2021 Series:

ONLINE STAGE 1 – runs from 21 April and concludes on 26 June. Competitors from around the world will race online over 10 rounds of the Manufacturer Series (taking place on Wednesdays) and 10 rounds of the Nations Cup (on Saturdays).

‘WORLD SERIES’ 1 & 2 – this period will also see the global top 16 Nations Cup and top 12 Manufacturer Series competitors (initially selected from the 2020 World Finals) taking part in two new ‘World Series’ events that will be broadcast on Sunday, 6 June and Sunday, 11 July respectively.

‘WORLD SERIES SHOWDOWN’ – The end of Online Stage 1 gives a chance to its best 16 Nations Cup competitors to challenge for a place in the World Series and World Finals against the 16 elite players who contested the first two World Series events. At the same time, team duties will return for the Manufacturer Series with 12 teams of three racers contesting their ‘Showdown’ with World Finals points at stake. The Manufacturer Series World Series Showdown will be broadcast on Saturday, 21 August and the Nations Cup on Sunday, 22 August.

ONLINE STAGE 2 – Running from 7 July until 25 September a further 10 rounds each for the Nations Cup and Manufacturer Series provide a chance for competitors to win their place in December’s World Finals.

‘WORLD SERIES’ 3 & 4 – A new-look elite group of players will contest two more race events set to be broadcast on 3 October and 14 November.

WORLD FINALS – Three days of World Finals will be broadcast on Friday 3, Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 December. Friday features the support series, Toyota Gazoo Racing GT Cup. Saturday’s Manufacturer Series final will again see 12 manufacturer teams of three drivers contesting a series of races. Sunday’s finale will be the Nations Cup World Final with the 16 established World Series competitors challenged by 16 new racers who have won their place in Online Stage 2.

“Due to the effect of Covid-19, we are missing the atmosphere of our World Series Events and the opportunity to meet our wonderful competitors directly, but we’re lucky that we can still test new ideas and continue to grow the FIA Certified Gran Turismo Championships even in this online environment,” said Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi.

“We’re excited by the new format for the series this year and, with new developments in our broadcast production integrating new technologies, we are certain that we can show everyone even more exciting racing action. While we are looking forward to getting back to meeting up with competitors and audiences in person, we feel it is right to keep the Championships purely online in 2021. I wish all of the fantastic competitors who will win their way through a competition involving several million people, both those that we already know in person and those that will be up and coming this year, the best of luck, and thanks for their continued support.

“I’m convinced that we will see some breath-taking, high-level racing again this year.”

The FIA Certified Gran Turismo Championships have been running since 2018. Last year, Japanese racer Takuma Miyazono won the Nations Cup, and was also part of the Manufacturer Series-winning Team Subaru, alongside Mikail Hizal (TUR) and Daniel Solis (USA).

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Matthew is a writer based in Wellington. He loves all things pop culture, and is fascinated by its place in history and the wider social context.