Australia’s Nissan GT Academy finalists selected
The six finalists to represent Australia at the Nissan GT Academy finals have been selected.
A group of 20 gamers from all over the country tackled four bespoke tests in a two-day camp at Warner Bros. Movie World on the Gold Coast to distinguish the best six to progress to the Silverstone final next month.
After coming through a series of tests, Nick Dalton (21), Matthew Simmons (26), Tyler Blackburn (20), Corey Creed (25), Simon Feigl (30) and Elliott Schutte secured a passage to the coveted GT Academy finals.
The contestants faced gruelling tests which ranged from a fitness examination, a Playstation Gran Turismo simulator competition, a mock media press conference and a motorkhana test against the clock.
The six will now undertake a series of competitions against winners from America, Mexico, North Africa and Turkey at Silverstone, where one lucky gamer will receive a contract to join Nissan’s GT3 progam.
“It means everything,” said Simmons, whose current occupation is to deliver parcels for Australia Post.
“We have got an amazing group of six people who are really strong and I think we can make it all the way.
“I deliver parcels for a living so I drive a van around which is not as quick as a GT-R GT3 car, so I’m looking forward to doing something a bit quicker.”
Nissan V8 Supercar driver Todd Kelly joined all the competitors for the motorkhana test and is confident the finalists will impress at Silverstone in early August.
“The most important thing to me is the actual driving and I was in the passenger seat for every single contender and this is the best way to get an idea of what they are going to be like,” Kelly told Speedcafe.com.
“It was a really challenging course and I think everyone did a really good job.
“There were a couple of guys who had never driven a manual car before and they got through and dug deep which was good to see.
“There are certainly some good drivers there and I can’t wait to get to the finals and follow them and see how they go.
“Its mind-blowing, I spent eight or nine years trying to become professional race driver,” he added.
“These guys have taken that eight years and all of that drama and consolidated into a week, so that blows my mind to have an opportunity to do that.”