Nissan: From a lounge to La Sarthe: The GT Academy story

Posted on 04. Jun, 2015 by in Nissan Canada

 

“This is possibly a stupidest thought ever or a many shining co-promotion for dual brands in a story of mankind.”
– Autoblog.com 2008

LE MANS – It’s tough to believe, though until usually a few years ago a usually racing knowledge 3 of Nissan’s GT-R LM NISMO drivers for Le Mans had was personification Gran Turismo on their PlayStations. Impossible? No – usually a unusual virtual-to-reality materialisation that is GT Academy.

Now in a eighth year, GT Academy continues to offer a practical world’s many gifted drivers a unique, approach and entirely saved trail to a mind-blowing existence of a full-time career as veteran NISMO-supported racing drivers.

Initially seen as a gimmick by determined teams, racers and attention pundits, GT Academy immediately valid a worth, both as a many indispensable choice lane into mainstream motorsport, though also as a motorist find and growth module of forlorn ambition, scale and success.

“Originally regarded as small some-more than a selling gimmick – during slightest by a reduction cordial corners of motorsport and a media – this brazen virtual-to-reality foe has consistently detected venerable pushing talents who would differently have been denied a possibility to gleam behind a circle of a genuine racing car.”
– EVO Magazine, Dec 2012

That success can be seen in a fibre of GT Academy winners who are now racing around a world, achieving fantastic formula in some of a sport’s toughest categories and many prestigious events. At Le Mans in 2011, Lucas Ordóñez finished second in a LM P2 difficulty usually 3 years after apropos a initial GT Academy winner. He followed this in 2013 by finishing third in LM P2 alongside 2011 European winner, Jann Mardenborough. It’s on a behind of these and other well-developed performances that a span have cumulative drives in a GT-R LM NISMO for Le Mans 2015, and because Ordóñez is enjoying a full-time expostulate in a Japanese Super GT Championship, while Mardenborough is battling for wins in a GP3 single-seater series.

With such moving purpose models, it’s no consternation a recognition of GT Academy continues to grow. Free to enter and open to anyone 18 or over, it is now active in 24 countries opposite a U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and North Africa while attracting millions of competitors any year.

Initially competing opposite any other online, racing 4 opposite Nissan cars on 4 opposite circuits, a quickest racers swell to their particular National Finals. Here, in serve to serve practical pushing challenges, their tangible pushing skills are also put to a exam on track. The winners of any National Final afterwards accept an invitation to Race Camp during a world-famous Silverstone circuit in a UK or a Yas Marina lane in Abu Dhabi. Here a name organisation undergoes an complete week-long preference routine before a best of a best is crowned GT Academy winner.

Since a pregnancy behind in 2008, some truly gorgeous drivers have been discovered, nurtured and are now enjoying multiplying full-time veteran careers. Yet usually as certainly as it will continue to find uninformed talent – who knows, maybe even a destiny F1 champion? – GT Academy’s many profitable bequest is a fact that nonetheless engine racing will always be an chosen sport, it is no longer elitist.

How does it feel to win GT Academy? The 2011 GT Academy Europe winner, Jann Mardenborough, let’s us know: “Sometimes it still seems crazy to consider I’ve come from personification Gran Turismo in my bedroom to racing an LM P1 automobile during Le Mans. For utterly a while after we won it was still a bit of a dream, even my initial year during Le Mans in LM P2. we consider we truly felt like a veteran motorist during Le Mans final year, when a guys putting a NISMO LM P1 group together we looking during drivers. we was like, ‘OK, we wish to be a partial of that,’ so any time we got in a automobile we treated it like a job. No excuses – usually do a best we could do any time we was asked. Something clicked. From that impulse it was something opposite for me. That’s when we knew it was my life. Racing is what we do. It’s cool. we adore it.”

GT Academy Winners from a U.S.:

NICOLAS HAMMANN
2014 :: GT Academy Winner
2015:: Dubai 24 Hours, GTA- Class Second Place

NICK MCMILLEN
2013 :: GT Academy Winner
2014 :: Blancpain Endurance Series driver
2014 :: Dubai 24 Hours, SP2 Class Victory
2015 :: Two Top Ten, One Top Five Finish Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge GS Class in Three Events

STEVE DOHERTY
2012 :: GT Academy Winner
2013 :: Blancpain Endurance Series Driver
2014 :: Race Winner, Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car Class – Road America
2014 :: Race Winner Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car Class – Miller Motorsports Park

BRYAN HEITKOTTER
2011 :: GT Academy Winner
2012 :: Grand Am Continental Tire Challenge Series, Pole Position, 10th Place Overall, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
2012 :: Grand Am Continental Tire Challenge Series, Pole Position, 8th Place Overall, Mid-Ohio
2012 :: SCCA Solo Nationals STX Class Champion
2012 :: British GT Championships, Brands Hatch, 1st In Class (5th Overall)
2012 :: Dubai 24 Hours, 3rd in Class
2015 :: Pirelli World Challenge Championships, 1st Place in GTA Class – Barber Motorsports Park competition 2
2015 :: Pirelli World Challenge Championships, 1st Place in GTA Class – Canadian Tire Motorsports Park competition 1
2015 :: Pirelli World Challenge Championships, 1st Place in GTA Class – Canadian Tire Motorsports Park competition 2

 

# # #

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.