Inaugural Gran Turismo® 4 Awards Invited SEMA Auto Show Exhibitors to Vie For the Opportunity To Be Featured in Highly Anticipated PlayStation® 2 Racing Game

Awards Ceremony Honors Automotive Excellence and Highlights the Upcoming Release for the New Edition of the Best Selling Racing Videogame Franchise


To honor automotive excellence and celebrate car culture, Sony Computer Entertainment America, publisher of the best-selling Gran Turismo® racing franchise for PlayStation®/PlayStation 2, hosted the first-ever Gran Turismo 4 (GT4) Awards yesterday at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) auto show in Las Vegas. In its inaugural year, the GT4 Awards marked a historic collaboration of videogame and auto enthusiasts, while featuring a distinguished line-up of entries from top SEMA show exhibitors, all vying for the coveted honor of being dubbed "Best in Show," a title that included the historic privilege of having their vehicle inserted into the revolutionary Gran Turismo 4 driving simulator for PlayStation 2.

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Held at Las Vegas hot-spot Ghostbar in the Palms Hotel/Casino Resort, the GT4 Awards highlighted six categories that included "Best Truck/SUV," "Best Japanese Import," "Best European Import," "Best Domestic Automobile," "Best Hot Rod" and the coveted "Best in Show." The Best in Show vehicle will not only be inserted into the upcoming Gran Turismo 4 videogame, but will be available for all consumers to soon view and drive, virtually making it the talk of the automobile industry.

"The Gran Turismo 4 Awards honor and exemplify the high level of passion and enthusiasm that both auto enthusiasts and the Gran Turismo racing franchise possess," said Kazunori Yamauchi, famed creator of the Gran Turismo series. "Through the GT4 Awards and the support of the automotive community, Gran Turismo 4 can not only be seen as a game, but as a unique medium to learn, enjoy and experience automotive culture like never before."

"The attention paid to detail in Gran Turismo 4 is extraordinary. From the topography of the race course to the sunlight dancing off a car's body panel. Even the brake lights light up appropriately," said Sam Mitani, International Editor, Road & Track Magazine. "The GT4 Awards goes to show how committed the makers of this great driving game are to automotive enthusiasm. The Gran Turismo series isn't just celebrating car culture, they have become an integral part of it."

Entries for the GT4 Awards included vehicles encompassing manufacturers around the globe. GT4 Awards category winners were selected by representatives from popular automotive media outlets including Road & Track, Motor Trend, Popular Hot Rodding Television and Super Street, with the "Best in Show" award being selected by legendary Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi.

The overall winner was Ted and Sue Richardson who were honored with the "Best in Show" award for their one-of-kind 1962 Buick Special. In addition to the hardware, the Richardson's 1962 Buick Special will set a new standard for visibility among auto enthusiasts as their vehicle will be drivable in Gran Turismo 4 when it is available worldwide for PlayStation 2 in 2004.

The "Best Truck/SUV" honor was presented to Dustin Whipple for his 2004 Ford F-150.

Walking away with the award for "Best Japanese Import" was Craig Wilson for his 1992 Acura NSX Coupe.

In the "Best European Import" category, Werner Funk took first prize for his 2001 Renault Clio Sport

The "Best Domestic Automobile" award was given to Michael Jackson for his 2003 Saturn Ion outfitted with Gude Performance Parts. The final category, which was for "Best Hot Rod," was awarded to the overall Best in Show award winners -- Ted and Sue Richardson with their one-of-kind 1962 Buick Special.

With more than 30 million units sold worldwide, the Gran Turismo franchise is regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulation ever created. For the launch of Gran Turismo 4, a new standard will be set for authentic racing action with upwards of 500 cars and 50 tracks encompassing auto manufacturers and courses from around the world, as well as realistic driving physics.

About Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.

Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. continues to redefine the entertainment lifestyle with its PlayStation® and PS one™ game console, and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system. The PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system is set to revolutionize the home entertainment market, offering the most compelling interactive content and the capability to be used as a network terminal in the coming broadband era.

Recognized as the undisputed industry leader, Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. markets the PlayStation family of products and develops, publishes, markets and distributes software for the PS one game console and the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system for the North American market. Based in Foster City, Calif. Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. serves as headquarters for all North American operations and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

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SOURCE: Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.

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