- Six UK PlayStation racers qualify for International GT Academy Race Camp
- Stakes are high with overall prize of a full season racing in a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 race car
This week saw a tense conclusion to the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy 2013 UK National Final, staged at the world famous Silverstone Circuit. Six of the UK’s fastest and most talented PlayStation racers emerged victorious from a field of 24. They have kept alive their dreams of being trained to become a real life Nissan racing driver, as they look to win the highly acclaimed virtual-to-reality European competition.
Now in its fifth year, a formidable entry list of over 765,000 gamers from around Europe entered the 2013 competition, with the UK leading the way by drawing in over 148,000 entries via the online Gran Turismo 6 qualifying round. The first stage of this year’s National Final took place on the evening of Monday 12th August, in the hallowed surroundings of the BRDC Clubhouse at Silverstone. The 24 UK qualifiers completed a series of nail-biting Gran Turismo gaming challenges in the virtual versions of the Nissan GT-R and 370Z.
Day two saw the leading pack reduced to 18 following another round of Gran Turismo racing. The field was further reduced to 12 for the final phase of the UK Final with a sequence of tests that measured the attributes of a modern day racing driver. Featuring real life auto test driving skills in a Nissan Juke Nismo, a gruelling combination of fitness tests along with media interviews, competitors gained points for each contest, determining which six UK representatives progressed to the 2013 GT Academy International ‘Race Camp’.
At the end of the second day, Adam Suswillo, Shane Ward, Mark Ridout, Martin Hefferon, John Foster and Neil Williams were announced as the winners and they can now look forward to returning to the epicentre of British motorsport in September, where they can expect a baptism of fire during the 2013 GT Academy Race Camp. They will go head-to-head in a battle of survival at the uncompromising boot camp for aspiring racing drivers. Only one of the six national UK representatives will progress to the European Final where they will face the leading competitors that have qualified through the 18 participating European countries.
An emotional Adam Suswillo, aged 21 from Nottingham, explained: “This is a great feeling and I am quite surprised to get through. I knew I was solid on Gran Turismo, but I was really pleased that I did so well overall. I really enjoyed driving the Juke Nismo and it was great to get good feedback on my performance in the driving test. It’s a life changing prize if you win the European GT Academy Final. I have been training hard for the National Final, but I struggled a bit in the fitness, so I’ll definitely keep working on that element before the International Race Camp starts, as I really want to give myself the best chance of winning.”
The overall European winner of GT Academy 2013 will undertake a comprehensive Driver Development Programme to prepare them for the ultimate prize of a full season’s racing in a 500+ horsepower Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 race car.
In 2011, Jann Mardenborough became the first British winner of GT Academy and he is living his dream. In his first year racing with Nissan, he was awarded the Rising Star status by the British Racing Drivers’ Club, following impressive pole positions and race wins in the 2012 British GT Championship. Jann’s switch to the highly-competitive 2013 FIA European Formula 3 Championship is helping fast track his education in downforce cars, which proved the perfect preparation to compete in a Nissan-powered LMP2 car at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours where he claimed a podium result.
Having supported the 2013 GT Academy National Final, Jann Mardenborough said: “When I entered GT Academy in 2011, the European entry list was 90,000. This year GT Academy has attracted over 765,000 racing hopefuls, demonstrating how GT Academy has grown in such a short space of time. Since winning GT Academy, I have been lucky enough to race at world famous circuits such as Nürburgring, Spa and Monza, whilst competing in world famous races such as the Le Mans 24 Hours. You can understand why the competition attracts such a huge entry list and why the heats across the two days of this year’s UK Final have been so tense. I wish our UK winners the best of luck, as they now face a really tough challenge at the International Race Camp.”
For people who want to follow the progress of the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy 2013, lots of news will be shared on a variety of platforms including: www.facebook.com/GTAcademy | http://eu.gran-turismo.com | www.twitter.com/GTAcademy
GT Academy UK National Final 2013 competitor details
Adam Suswillo, aged 21fromNottingham 1st postion
Shane Ward aged 21 from Bridgnorth, Shropshire 2nd
Mark Ridout aged 21 from New Milton, Hampshire 3rd
Martin Hefferon aged 23 from Hesketa Bank, Lancashire 4th
John Foster aged 18 from Blackburn, Lancashire 5th
Neil Williams aged 28 from Charlton, London 6th