Polyphony Digital has a historical problem with getting its games in front of fans in a timely fashion, but if you want to experience Gran Turismo 6, you can do so right now thanks to the game's demo in advance of its holiday release on the PlayStation 3.

The interesting thing about the demo is that it doubles as an entry into GT Academy 2013 – the latest round of Polyphony Digital's contest designed to find gamers skilled enough to race real-life race cars at competition level. As such, the demo seems to serve less about introducing some of the concepts of the game – including its new physics model – and more about testing your skills. It does feature a handful of races in the Sunday Cup and Clubman Cup events (raced in a Nissan Leaf and 370Z, respectively), but the cash you earn here and the competition you face isn't relevant to the overall experience.

Instead, the challenge and fun lies in time trial races on portions of the Silverstone track in a 370Z.

Here's how I fared:

  • Time Trial 1. Bronze award. Ranked 92,029 in world
  • Time Trial 2. Silver award. Ranked 41,062 in world
  • Time Trial 3. Silver award. Ranked 43,067 in world
  • Time Trial 4. Bronze award. Ranked 37,950 in world

Getting an award in all four opens up two bonus events raceable in a Nissan GT-R, with a third coming on July 28 after the competition closes.

The time trials can be demanding, as your time is disqualified if you leave the track. Ghost cars of your performance or others can be downloaded and raced against as well. A variety of assists can be used, and although the global leaderboards list which ones each racer chooses, it's unclear if the ranking system itself takes any of this into account.

The demo looks and feels like a Gran Turismo title, but it really doesn't do what a good demo should – get me excited for the full-length release – because of its focus on the GT Academy. And as my lap times above prove, I certainly am not prepared to qualify for the competition any time soon, either.