GT ACADEMY UPDATE
Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy 2016 International Race Camp [DAY 1]

19 October 2016
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Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy 2016 International Race Camp [DAY 1]

Day 1 | Bedford Autodrome

The waiting is over for 36 of the world’s elite Gran Turismo® gamers as they arrived in the UK yesterday for the start of the 2016 Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy International Race Camp.


The competitors, from Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, North Africa & Mexico, earned their place at Race Camp through a number of Live Events hosted across the world, where their virtual driving skills were put to the test on a pre-release version of GT Sport on PlayStation®4. From there, they were whittled down to a final six from a variety of National Finals, with Elysse Menorca from the Philippines becoming the first-ever female Race Camp finalist.


On arrival, the competitors would receive their clothing for the week (see assigned team colours in table below), undergo race suit fittings, medicals and TV interviews. After all of that had been completed, they were then greeted with their first surprise of 2016 Race Camp. While in previous years the gamers have stayed in hotel rooms, this year each territory will be sharing a tour bus, with on-board cameras giving the most in-depth look ever of the rollercoaster of emotions experienced as they chase the coveted GT Academy crown.


The competitors headed off site early on Wednesday morning to Bedford Autodrome, where they were given their first chance to show the judges and team leaders their aptitude behind the wheel of real cars. In an action-packed day, the competitors took to the North, South, East and West circuits at Bedford and had some exhilarating drives in Caterhams, Ariel Atoms, Nissan 370Z Race Cars and high-downforce Le Mans Prototype style sports cars, which are capable of 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. The morning driving challenges were given an added degree of difficulty, with overnight rain meaning the gamers had to contend with damp, drying tracks in these unfamiliar vehicles.


With many of the gamers not having set foot in a racing car before, it was more important than ever for them to lean on the experience of their mentors as they took the wheel of some incredibly powerful and diverse cars. Although there will be another day of challenges before the first elimination, it was vital for the gamers to get off on the right foot and make a good impression as they began their quest for glory.


Rob Barff, 2016 Nissan PlayStation GT Academy International Head Judge: “Today was a fantastic chance to get the competitors into a huge range of cars with over five hours of track time. All the cars have transponders and all have instructors in so we were able to capture a wealth of information about the core level of skill that the gamers arrive with, their ability to adapt to real racing cars and how they took on the advice given to them. If someone arrives quite good they might stand out now, but if in three days they’re still quite good, then that’s not for us. We’re potentially looking for that rough diamond that may have made a few mistakes early on today from pushing too hard, but is able to take on information, learn from their mistakes and get faster and faster.”


Chris McIvor, Australia competitor: “Today has been absolutely amazing. I’ve never seen a facility like this in all of my life and to be able to drive these cars is pretty cool! In the 370Z cars we weren’t given any tuition and were just told to drive and show everyone what we’re all about, so it’s all about applying what you’ve learned in the other cars but also adapting to something different. It’s great having Chiyo as our mentor, it was quite funny as after we’d taken part in our Caterham activity, he jumped into the car with no practice laps or familiarity with the car and beat us all so that gives us something to aim for! His experience as a professional race car driver is going to be so important to feed off and I can’t wait to learn more from him.”


Sandy Stuvik, Thailand team judge: “Throughout the day, you could see improvement from the competitors each time they got behind the wheel of a different car. I’ve been helping them with any issues they may have at this stage and gear shifts have been the most common hurdle that I’ve come across. However, I’m confident they’ll all do well and overcome this, they’re all really close in terms of lap times across the different challenges which is good to see. It was a great chance for them to experience so many disciplines of motorsport and they’ll definitely benefit from it and become much more rounded drivers as a result.”


THE COMPETITORS

 

Head Judge: Rob Barff

Australia

Judge: Katsumasa Chiyo

Chris McIvor

 

Bradley Packham

 

Michael Pryor

 

Steve Danielsen

 

Oscar Redfearn

 

Keishi Ayukai

 

Thailand

Judge: Sandy Stuvik

Danuwat Worakitichai

 

Eakparin Thavornlumlert

 

Kanokphan Wathanakitanan

 

Manuttakon Scherer

 

Phureepat Poonperm

 

Ponpon Naraipitak

 

Indonesia

Judge: Diandra Gautama

Mohammad Faiz Rayyan

 

Catra Felder

 

Raditya Indera Syahieza

 

Mohammad Pandu W Hartanto

 

Dwinanto Sukmono

 

Ricko Boen

 

North Africa (Algeria, Egypt & Morocco)

Judge: Tamer Bashir

Mohamed Madaci

 

Mohamed Wally

 

Kamel Madaci

 

Hassan Abulkhasab

 

Karim Teggar

 

Oussama Benjelloun

 

Mexico

Judge: Ricardo Sanchez

Johnny Guindi Hamui

 

Lorenzo Goicoechea Amieva

 

Gonzalo Castro Gutierrez

 

Enrique Rodriguez Manjarrez

 

Gabriel Ortiz Vega

 

Oscar Jaime Arrambide

 

Philippines

Judge: Lucas Ordonez

Quattro Adriano

 

Jan Millard Lacuna

 

Kim Jigier Aquino Chong

 

Mervin John Mallen

 

Richard Dean Jose

 

Elysse Menorca