After a week long race camp featuring the 36 fastest Gran Turismo racers from eleven European nations the fastest six will compete against each other on the Silverstone Grand Prix track during the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) weekend.
The event takes the fourth year of the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy onto the world stage infront of the fans and teams gathered for the fourth round of the inaugural WEC season.
After completing a variety of challenges including traffic challenges, circuit tests and car control – as well as taking a Nissan 370Z around a rally course and sampling single-seater racers – the 36 where whittled down to just six, each one representing a single territory – France, UK and Ireland, Benelux, Italy, Iberia and Switzerland, Austria and Poland combined. Now they will race against each in their first live race, competing in identical Nissan 370Z Group N cars.
Each territory’s drivers were judged by their own pair of mentors including former F1 driver Rene Arnoux and Franck Mailleux, judging the French contingent while the UK and Ireland judging fell to Johnny Herbert and Rob Barff.
Herbert and Barff’s selection, Irishman Des Foley, will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of 2011 winner Jann Mardenborough who became the first British winner in three years of the Nissan Playstation GT Academy.
He will face Frenchman Sebastien Bertrand, Belgian Wolfgang Reip, Andrea Cosaro from Italy, Portuguese driver Hugo Goncalves and Swiss Rolf Ueltschi.
“It’s a new phase now, and they are away from their comfort zones of being with their friends in their country groups,” said Herbert. “Now they are on their own against each other and it will be tough. There is a lot of pressure in this race – balancing speed, consistency and the desire to win. I think we’ll see a lot of their true character as the pressure builds towards the race.”
Not only does the WEC weekend at Silverstone start the 2012 winner’s journey towards the prize of driving a Nissan 370Z GT4 at the Dubai 24 Hours, but it also shows the larger prize on offer with original winner Lucas Ordonez and 2010 winner Jordan Tresson both in action in the Six Hours of Silverstone in the LMP2 class.