Six of the UK’s fastest and most talented PlayStation racers took one step closer to the conclusion of the 2013 Nissan PlayStation GT Academy at the UK National Finals, held at Silverstone.
24 drivers were whittled down from over 148,000 UK entries and begun the National Final on Monday 12th August in the BRDC Clubhouse, taking part in a series of nail-biting Gran Turismo gaming challenges in virtual versions of the Nissan GT-R and 370Z.
The second day dropped the field down to 18, before the top 12 then took a sequence of tests measuring the attributes of a modern day racing driver, including real-life skills in a Nissan Juke Nismo, gruelling fitness tests and media interviews. Drivers received points for each round, with the top 6 progressing to the 2013 GT Academy International ‘Race Camp’.
“This is a great feeling and I am quite surprised to get through,” said 21-year-old Adam Suswillo. “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 winner of the competition will be placed in Nissan’s comprehensive Driver Development Programme to prepare them for a full season in a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 race machine.
Britain’s first winner of the GT Academy came in 2011 when Jann Mardenborough took the title, and has since gone on to become a BRDC Rising Star, win races in the British GT Championship and claim a podium result in the LMP2 class at the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“When I entered GT Academy in 2011, the European entry list was 90,000,” said Mardenborough, a supporter of the 2013 National Final. “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.”