Face it. Usually, when we play video games, we’re doing things we don’t actually do in real life: playing in the NBA or NFL, running through the Wild West shooting people, fighting in the Army’s special forces during the 1960s—and the list goes on. Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA) and Polyphony Digital Inc., in collaboration with Nissan North America, are getting ready to bring virtual to reality for 16 lucky and talented gamers.

With today’s PS3-only release of Gran Turismo 5, gamers will be able to compete in a series of online time trials using specific Nissan vehicles, with the top 32 racers across the nation invited to take part in a live event in March 2011. Those 32 will then be narrowed down to 16 finalists, who will compete in a number of challenges, including hopping in an actual Nissan, with the winner then training to become a professional driver in preparation for competing as part of a professional team at a major race event.

The competitors' road to victory will be documented in a multi-episode reality show airing exclusively on SPEED channel and the PlayStation Network in 2011. The reality show series will start filming in March 2011 from the GT Academy finals through training as a pro race driver.

Registration for the contest begins on December 6. You can find more information here.