Day 8 | Silverstone
It was a thrilling end to the 2016 Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy International Race Camp which saw Mexico’s Johnny Guindi Hamui crowned champion and earn a place at the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai in January.
In a new format for Race Camp, instead of just one driver from each territory contesting the final race, two drivers would represent each territory in a 16-lap endurance race around the Silverstone International Circuit.
Before the race, the remaining 12 gamers took part in a ridealong with their mentors, before a 15 minute practice session where they would share the driving. In this practice session it was Indonesia, who would start fourth on the grid, who set the pace and were four tenths ahead of the rest of the field.
When the race got underway, Mexico initially made a quick getaway and led into the first corner, however they were hauled in by the quick-starting Mohamed Wally from North Africa who took the lead and built a gap in his eleven lap stint. Mexico pitted early, changing Enrique Manjarrez for Johnny Guindi Hamui, who within two laps had set the fastest lap of the race.
When North Africa eventually stopped, Hamui had narrowed the gap completely and the pair went into the first corner side-by-side after North Africa emerged from the pits. Hamui then went on to take and consolidate the lead before taking the chequered flag.
Hamui was chosen for his consistent pace and adaptability throughout the week, as well as a willingness to listen and take on all the advice given to him throughout Race Camp.
Hamui will barely have time to celebrate the success and his whirlwind introduction to the comprehensive Nissan Driver Development Programme will mean he races at iconic UK circuit Brands Hatch this weekend with Nissan’s RJN Motorsport team.
GT Academy champion Johnny Guindi Hamui, Mexico: “I can’t believe it, what I’ve just achieved is going to take a while to sink in! It’s been an unbelievable experience with some seriously tough competitors and I’ve had the best time of my life. In the race I was just so concentrated on doing a good job that my 11 laps in the car flew by. I was alone for five laps and I was just looking for consistent lap times and then on my sixth lap I saw the North Africa car coming out of the pits. I was in a great rhythm and overtook him on the outside. After that it was all about holding it together and luckily I did that, I can’t describe the feeling when Jann read out my name as the winner!”
Ricardo Sanchez, Mexico mentor: “It’s great for Mexico and it’s great for our team. The evictees pulled together today and helped deliver a really quick pit stop for Johnny & Enrique and it was vital in contributing to a race win. From the beginning Johnny was always quick and he deserves all this success but I really can’t understate how important the teamwork and team spirit was throughout, I’m very happy and proud.”