Published on October 11th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
NISMO GT Academy Europe head to Abu Dhabi
The NISMO PlayStation® GT Academy European Race Camp is underway at the Yas Marina Formula One circuit in Abu Dhabi. The intensive, week-long racing driver boot camp sees 56 Gran Turismo® gamers from 11 European countries gather in the United Arab Emirates’ capital city. They will compete for the chance to embark on Nissan’s all-encompassing Driver Development Program and the chance to become a real racing driver, with Formula One technical genius Adrian Newey OBE on hand as head judge.
The Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer stands alone in Formula One, with his designs having won 10 Constructors’ titles for three different teams. The British engineer has worked with some of F1’s greatest drivers, including Nigel Mansell, Mika Häkkinen and Sebastian Vettel. He now turns his attention to spot a rising star from the gaming world.
Newey will have close support from GT Academy’s experienced chief instructor, sports car racer Rob Barff, as the racing driver hopefuls are put through their paces on and off the track in a series of challenges to test driving skills as well as physical and mental aptitude. Barff leads a team of top-level GT Academy instructors and high-profile country mentors including: ex-F1 driver Max Chilton (UK); Dani Clos (Iberia); Olivier Pla (France); JP Kraemer (Germany); Tim Coronel (Benelux); Michela Cerutti (Italy); and Josef Král (CEE).
GT Academy is getting bigger and better each year. In 2015, 24 countries across the world have participated in three virtual-to-reality competitions. Champions of Asia and an International competition have already been crowned at Silverstone, the traditional home of Race Camp, but the European competition is ringing the changes with the move to the warmer climes of Abu Dhabi. The sun, sea, sand and impressive skyscrapers of Abu Dhabi will create a spectacular backdrop for the GT Academy TV show which was watched by 27 million people in 2014.
The winner of GT Academy Europe will embark on the Driver Development Program with the aim to progress to a career as a racing driver. The results of the program have been spectacular: Lucas Ordoñez, an MBA student from Spain, spearheaded the program in 2008, now races for Nissan in Super GT500 class in Japan and has two Le Mans 24 Hour podium finishes to his name; Jann Mardenborough, the 2011 winner from the UK, competes in the GP3 Formula 1 feeder series; and in just three years, Wolfgang Reip from Belgium has been transformed from gamer to Blancpain Endurance Series champion racing a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.