GT ACADEMY UPDATE
25 October 2016
Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy 2016 International Race Camp [DAY 7]
Day 7 | Cottesmore & Silverstone
A misty and cold morning awaited the remaining 18 gamers as they awoke on the penultimate day of Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy International Race Camp. For many, their future in the competition was also unclear, with head-to-head Gymkhana eliminators taking place at Cottesmore for the second day in succession.
While yesterday’s participation in the eliminators was dictated by the Pendine Sands beach races, today would be the mentors’ choices as they pitted two of their drivers against each other in Nissan 370Z race cars. Over the past six days, the gamers have driven a total of ten different cars, with built-in transponders and being constantly under the watchful eye of their mentors. After analysing all this data, the mentors chose two of the remaining three competitors in each territory to take their place in the eliminator while the other would be guaranteed to make it through to the final day tomorrow.
The day was split into two separate activities, with the competitors also spending time on the Silverstone International Circuit, also in the Nissan 370Z race cars. This would be the circuit configuration that the final race will be contested on tomorrow, giving the gamers a great opportunity to familiarise themselves with the layout while also affording the mentors a final chance to analyse their level of performance.
At the eliminators, with only the best three competitors in each territory remaining, any gaps in driving ability were basically non-existent leading to some incredibly close racing once again. This heartbreakingly meant that in numerous races, competitors exited Race Camp by a margin of less than a second.
Emotions were already running high at yesterday’s action at Cottesmore, but it was even tougher today with the six competitors leaving Race Camp with the finishing line just a day away and behind them, a once in a lifetime week in pursuit of the ultimate prize. It was hard for the mentors too, who had spent the previous week developing them from quick Gran Turismo® gamers into aspiring racing drivers.
It left just 12 competitors, two from each territory, now remaining in contention to be GT Academy Champion, with tomorrow set to be a thrilling day at Silverstone as we look to find the newest NISMO athlete.
Australia - Chris McIvor & Brad Packham
Indonesia - Raditya Indera Syahieza & Catra Felder
Mexico - Johnny Guindi Hamui & Enrique Rodriguez Manjarrez
North Africa - Mohamed Wally & Hassan Abulkhasab
Philippines - Quattro Adriano & Richard Dean Jose
Thailand - Danuwat Worakitichai & Ponpon Naraipitak
Rob Barff, 2016 Nissan PlayStation GT Academy International Head Judge: “It was very interesting to once again see who thrives under the pressure of an intense eliminator situation. We’ve had one car in the barriers and two cars spin today which just shows that even the best drivers here are affected by pressure. My performance of the day goes to Ponpon Naraipitak from Thailand who absolutely dominated his eliminator and has put himself up there as a potential GT Academy champion. It’s not just him though, there were strong performances from the other nations too and it’s building up to a thrilling climax tomorrow.”
Quattro Adriano, Philippines competitor (won his eliminator): “That feels good, I’m the type of guy who just loves winning, but who doesn’t?! Earlier we had a go in the same car at Silverstone and we went from a really wide track and grippy surface there to a narrow and slippery surface here so once again we had to adapt. For me, the pressure helps and it brings out my survival instinct – I can’t wait until tomorrow!”
Florian Strauss, Indonesia team leader: “All of the guys have done well this week and today threw up a surprise as Pandu, who’s been consistent all week, made a mistake today and it cost him. That’s taking nothing away from Catra though, he’s been fast throughout and he held it together superbly out there when the pressure is on. We’ll spend some time with the two guys tonight and answer any questions or queries they may have and prepare them for tomorrow. It’s about time there’s an Indonesian winner no?!”