- Four new graduates crowned at GT Academy Race Camp during September
- GT Academy at the heart of Nissan's on track action across the globe
ROLLE, Switzerland – September 2013 was one of the biggest months in the history of GT Academy. As Nissan Motorsport competed on tracks across the globe, the next generation of NISMO Athletes was crowned at GT Academy Race Camps at Silverstone.
During the last four weeks, competitors from Europe, the U.S., Russia and Germany have fought through blood, sweat and tears to follow in the footsteps of drivers like Lucas Ordonez and Jann Mardenborough. The four new GT Academy graduates will now set out on Nissan's intensive driver development program to ready them for the rigors of competition.
Race Camp is a massive operation that takes place annually at Silverstone. The competitors are put through their paces in a series of grueling challenges from fitness tests, psychological tests, circuit driving, stock car driving, traffic tests, theory tests and a particularly muddy assault course. With evictions taking place throughout Race Camp it is a real survival of the fittest.
Race Camp used 28 Nissan road and race cars, from the 370Z NISMO to the GT-R track cars, which were used to test the real-life skills over 77 competitors. Two of those cars will never be used again. The production team of 150 people (excluding USA Race Camp) used 32 cameras, 22 minicams, 1 drone and 1 helicopter to catch the action, which is now being edited from over 400 hours of footage recorded. Over 13,000 bottles of water were drunk along with 6,000 cups of tea, but with man hours totaling almost 13,000 that no longer seems like such a large amount.
Away from Race Camp, GT Academy is always at the heart of Nissan's on track action. In September alone academy graduates won the Blancpain Endurance Series pro-am titles and took a class win in the Britcar 1000kms at Silverstone. At the same time, one of the Russian GT Academy mentors, Roman Rusinov, took two wins in the FIA World Endurance Championship in the Nissan-powered G-Drive Racing LMP2 car. Nissan power also dominated the European Le Mans Series, winning the LMP2 title in September.
This is the fifth year of GT Academy, and the program has become a bona fide route into a career in motorsport. Back in 2008 Autoblog.com stated: "This is either the stupidest idea ever or the most brilliant co-promotion for two brands in the history of mankind."
During the last five years, GT Academy has had nearly 4 million entrants via Playstation 3, over 1 billion miles driven virtually in Nissans on Gran Turismo, has been watched on TV by over 120 million people across the globe, delivered tens of millions of dollars of media coverage online and in print and has won numerous awards.
In 2008, just 25,000 people entered GT Academy (Europe), but word soon spread and the second competition in 2010 attracted a staggering 1.1 million entries. The 2008 GT Academy winner was Lucas Ordonez who has just added the Blancpain Endurance Series' Pro-Am Driver's Championship title to his long list of triumphs. Maybe it wasn't such a stupid idea after all.
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