Published on August 9th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
NISMO PlayStation® GT Academy 2015 International Race Camp: Day 1
The waiting is over for 30 of the world’s elite Gran Turismo® gamers as they arrived at Silverstone yesterday for the start of the 2015 NISMO PlayStation® GT Academy International Race Camp.
It was a smooth journey for most, with the exception of the Turkish team that endured an arduous last-minute panic to secure VISAs for three of its competitors just hours before the team’s flight was scheduled to depart. However, while this may have caused some unnecessary late anxiety, it didn’t stop them joining their counterparts from Australia, the U.S., North Africa and Mexico in the morning briefing at the Whittlebury Hall Hotel, which will serve as their overnight base for the majority of the week.
Here they met their team leaders for the week ahead, which included a host of former GT Academy winners, with Miguel Faisca, Wolfgang Reip and 2014 International Race Camp winner Ricardo Sanchez watching over Turkey, USA and Mexico respectively.
From there they would receive their clothing for the week (see assigned team colors in table below) and undergo race suit fitting, medicals, TV interviews and a test on the BATAK reaction wall before getting their heads down for a good night’s sleep and switching their focus to the next day’s on-track action. The best BATAK score of the day went to Vladimir Skirda from the U.S. who scored 60 in the 30-second time limit; to put it into perspective, Ricardo Sanchez managed 62 in last year’s competition.
The competitors headed off site early on Friday morning to Bedford Autodrome as they were given their first chance to show the judges and team leaders their aptitude behind the wheel of real cars. The need to impress and adapt quickly was vital, as for some it will be their last in-car action with the first set of evictions announced first thing Sunday following the physical Racing Ninja assault course tomorrow.
In an action-packed day, the competitors took to the North, South, East and West circuits at Bedford and had some exhilarating drives in single seaters, Caterhams, high-downforce John Palmer LM cars and a model year 2012 Nissan GT-R.
The key messages for the day to competitors from GT Academy International Head Judge Rob Barff were to give 100 percent to everything and, most importantly, listen to the expert advice given by both their judges and team leaders. Unsurprisingly, it was the teams that took all the advice on offer to them that showed the most promise, as they strived to tame and master these powerful racing machines. This need to listen was even more significant for some, with their first-ever racing experience coming in the Palmer Motorsport Formula 3000 car, which boasts an eye-catching 0-60 mph time of 3.1 seconds and a 170-mph top speed.
During their time at Bedford, the competitors also completed the written half of their ARDS (Association of Racing Drivers Schools) test, with the practical side coming in the evening at Silverstone’s Stowe Circuit – this time at the wheel of a Nissan 370Z.