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GT Academy 2013 European Race Camp - Day 4

After Saturday evening’s eliminations, it was back to school for the remaining 28 competitors at the 2013 Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy European Race Camp. In order to race in the UK, drivers need to attain the basic ‘ARDS’ race licence and so a classroom session saw all of the competitors complete the written ‘Theory’ part of the test.

On track, three groups completed their 370Z Nismo ‘telemetry challenge’ on the Stowe Circuit while all of the groups took part on one of the best and most revealing of the Race Camp challenges of recent years. The ‘traffic challenge’ saw the PlayStation gamers head out one by one onto Silverstone’s International Circuit in a white Nissan GT-R. They were in hot pursuit of three identical black GT-Rs driven by the professional GT Academy instructors. The challenge is designed to test the pace of the racing-driver-hopefuls as they attempt to chase down and pass the professionals.

After a glorious start to the day, the Silverstone weather changed at lunch time with some heavy rain making driving conditions tricky for the later groups. Further race psychology classes were also hosted by GT Academy performance director Simon Fitchett today.

With on-track activities finishing relatively early, Race Camp HQ saw the judges and mentors take to the virtual Silverstone recreated for PlayStation®3 on the Gran Turismo®6 demo. Driving the 2012 Nissan DeltaWing, things got competitive as GT Academy Champions, turned Nismo Athletes, Lucas Ordoñez, Jann Mardenborough and Wolfgang Reip vied for the fastest time around the 5.9km Grand Prix circuit. Nissan pro-driver Alex Buncombe also proved remarkably quick on GT6™, while ex-Formula One driver Vitantonio Liuzzi, GP2 driver Josef Kral, touring car and Dakar expert Tim Coronel, British Touring Car racer Paul O’Neill, sports car driver Gonçalo Gomes and former karting champion Tiff Chittenden had the tables turned as their competitors passed on their Gran Turismo tips to the established pros.

All of the competitors could sleep easy tonight as no eliminations took place.



Jérémy Bouteloup (France)
This morning we drove the Nissan 370Z on the Stowe Circuit and then we viewed our telemetry to learn where we were good and where we could improve which was really useful for me as it was good to see data of what I needed to do. I was fairly evenly matched with my competitors which, for me was quite disappointing as there is definitely more to come from me. I think my performance this morning was the lowest point so far, other than that I have really enjoyed my time at Race Camp. Hopefully I can go all the way.

Jani Vilen (Finland)
This morning we were driving the 370Zs at the Stowe Circuit for about 20 minutes. It was great fun driving there, but we did it for a reason. We were looking at the data from our runs and were working out where we could improve. I really enjoyed driving as fast as I could and learning how I can go even faster. We also had a traffic challenge which was a 3 lap race where we had to overtake as many cars as we could. Driving a GT-R in rainy conditions with driver aids off was really difficult. The last time we drove them it was dry, today it was very wet and felt very different in the wet.

Jesper Pedersen (Denmark)
Analysing my telemetry in the first challenge was very good. I improved a lot after we looked at the data. The second challenge, which was the traffic, wasn’t so good for me. I found it hard to find the limit in the wet and it took me two laps to get used to it in a three lap race. I only managed to pass one guy, which I’m not happy about. Race Camp has been even better than I expected. The challenges are so awesome this year; I couldn’t have even imagined some of them. I think the lack of preparation we get is the hardest part. We don’t get told what we are doing until about five minutes before we do it and that is really hard to prepare your mind for, there is so much to do each day and I don’t know what is coming, so I take things one day at a time and hope I do well.

Judicael Lagrange (France)
Today has been very good for me. I was perhaps a bit better on a dry track. Driving the GT-R in the wet was much more difficult. I feel I’m learning about driving in the wet and will only improve. Race Camp is an amazing experience. The fact it could cause a major change in my life, by making me a professional racing driver is fantastic. I try to give everything I can to be the best. It is a very, very big moment in my life and an unforgettable experience. The hardest moment for me this week was the GT-R challenge today. Overtaking professional drivers is never easy, in the wet is even harder. But the experience will make me better at it in the future.

Adam Suswillo (United Kingdom)
Race Camp can take it out of you mentally, as it’s full on 24/7. You wake up thinking about the eliminations, what challenges you are going to face, then go to bed thinking about the same things. The first few days I was ranked as the number one of the British drivers, but I have been finding it tough the last couple of days. The psychology training today has really helped me refocus, take positives from the challenges so far and I’m now looking forward to the rest of competition. I will give it my best shot, but I want to remember to enjoy these amazing experiences as well.

René Arnoux (French judge)
We are very happy with final four French guys, but they were too slow today. It was a difficult test for them to pass one or two professional drivers in very powerful Nissan GT-Rs, driving in very slippery and tricky conditions. However, as each day progresses the competition will only get tougher, so they have to raise their standard. I really like the GT Academy competition, as it brings out the human side of motor sport. It is interesting for me to understand them as people, to discover what motivates them and find the best ways they can benefit from my support. I am proud to do this job and make hard decisions, as there is so much at stake in finding the next GT Academy champion.