Motorsport News - Sportscar
From the bedroom to the real race track at Silverstone
20th July 2012
Six virtual racing drivers selected to represent the UK at the International GT Academy Race Camp
Chance to go from PlayStation racer to professional driver in a Nissan 370Z at Dubai 24hr International
This week saw a tense conclusion to the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy National Final, staged at the world famous Silverstone Circuit. Six of the UK and Irelands fastest and most talented PlayStation racers emerged victorious from a field of 32. 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 entering its fourth year, a formidable entry list of over 830,000 gamers from around Europe entered the 2012 competition, with the UK leading the way drawing in over 161,000 entries. The first stage of this years National Final took place on the evening of Tuesday 17 July, in the hallowed surroundings of the British Racing Drivers Club Clubhouse at Silverstone. The 32 qualifiers completed a series of nail-biting online races using virtual Nissan performance cars featured in the award winning Gran Turismo5 game.
Day two saw the leading pack reduced to just 12 following another round of virtual racing. Media interviews, real life driving in a Nissan 370Z and physical tests followed, with competitors gaining points for each contest, determining which six representatives progressed to the 2012 GT Academy International Race Camp.
At the end of the second day, Des Foley, Thomas Gibson, Daniel Glover, Jack O'Neill, David Williams and Istvan Demes were announced as the winners and they can now look forward to returning to the epicentre of British motorsport in August, for the 2012 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 representatives will progress to the final two days to race against the champions of France, Italy, Benelux, Spain and Portugal, and Austria, Switzerland and Poland.
An emotional David Williams, aged 23 from Devon, explained: It was an incredible feeling once I found out that I qualified for Race Camp, especially knowing how many contestants entered this years GT Academy. Having borrowed a friends console to enter last years competition, I bought my own PS3 this time round to take it far more seriously and I put in a lot hours of practice on the game. My training now will focus on fitness to get ready for Race Camp, where Im really looking forward to driving the likes of the Nissan GT-R and the 370Z on the race track at Silverstone.
The overall European winner of GT Academy 2012 will undertake a comprehensive Driver Development Programme to prepare them for the ultimate prize of a prestigious drive in the Dubai 24 Hour race in January, 2013 in a Nissan 370Z GT4 car.
In 2011, Jann Mardenborough became the first British winner of GT Academy and he is living his dream. Jann is now racing a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, and he has already recorded a podium at the 2012 Dubai 24 Hours, whilst notable results in the 2012 British GT Championship include a podium at Nrburgring and a recent win at Brands Hatch.
Having supported the 2012 GT Academy National Final, Jann Mardenborough said: The intensity of this years final, reminds me of how lucky I am to be a GT Academy winner. The fact that all previous winners, including myself, have been given such amazing opportunities to compete in top level motorsport, you can understand why the competition attracts such a huge entry list around Europe. The standard at this years UK and Ireland Final was extremely high. I have tried to help prepare our six National winners for the tough challenge they now face at the International Race Camp.
For people who want to follow the progress of the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy 2012, lots of news will be shared on a variety of platforms including: facebook.com/GTAcademy | http://eu.gran-turismo.com | twitter.com/GTAcademy
GT Academy UK and Ireland National Final 2012 competitor details:
Name Age Residency National Final overall standing
Des Foley: 23 County Carlow, Ireland 1st
Thomas Gibson: 23 Ballygowan, Northern Ireland 2nd
Daniel Glover: 20 Bromley, England 3rd
Jack O'Neill: 20 Rustington, England 4th
David Williams: 23 Devon, England 5th
Istvan Demes: 21 Hungarian, resident in Colchester, England 6th
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