From Sofa To Le Mans: GT Academy Winner For ILMC

Just three years after being plucked for the realm of virtual racing Spaniard Lucas Ordonez will race – for real – in this year's Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC).

Ordonez, now 25, was the first winner of the Nissan/Playstation GT Academy in 2008, beating off competition from the 25,000 people who entered. After completing an initial season in the FIA GT4 European Cup he was able to fund a second season in the championship last year, as well as taking part in the 24 Hours of Spa.

This year Ordonez will drive the full seven race ILMC season for Signatech Nissan in a Nissan powered ORECA LMP2 car. The highlight of Ordonez's season will be the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the biggest races of the year and a feat that marks an extraordinary climax for the GT Academy program.

“It is beginning to sound a bit clichéd for me to keep talking about 'living my dream’,” said an understandably thrilled Ordonez. “However, the past three years have been amazing and now to have been given the opportunity by Nissan to race at the Le Mans 24 Hours, as well as all the other fantastic races in the Intercontinental Le Mans Series, is incredible. I recognise that this is a big challenge and a great honour and I can’t wait to get started at Sebring later this month.”

The ILMC begins March 19 with the 12 Hours of Sebring which is the first of two races in America. Six hour races at Silverstone, Imola and Spa and a finale in China make up the rest of the season. The 79th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours forms the centrepiece of the year.

The third Nissan/Playstation GT Academy begins its first phase on March 4, offering one more European gamer the chance to join Ordonez in chasing a career as a professional racing driver.