Belgian competitor Wolfgang Reip emerged victorious from over 830,000 European Gran Turismo® gamers when he was crowned Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy champion at Silverstone in 2012.
Reip has long been a race fan, growing up watching Formula 1 in his native Belgium, where he rooted for his favorite driver, Ayrton Senna. He was an avid indoor go-karter and Gran Turismo fanatic; however, he never actively pursued becoming a professional race driver because of the high costs associated with the sport. The racing bug temporarily left him… until he heard about the GT Academy. He put his studies on hold, purchased a copy of Gran Turismo 5 and practiced like a man possessed. Now his dream, which he had once thought was unattainable, is becoming reality.
Having won the 2012 GT Academy in Europe, the tall, affable Belgian was thrown in the midst of the GT Academy’s most ambitious and intensive Driver Development Program to date. Over a three-month period, he and three other regional winners participated in a series of competitive race weekends to gain the experience and signatures to qualify to for an International C racing license ahead of the 24 Hours of Dubai in January, where they shared two Nissan 370Z Gran Turismo 4 race cars.
The first weekend of November 2012 saw Reip and his GT Academy teammates return to Donington where they successfully completed a trouble free run in the four-hour ‘Night Race’ and in the process secured the all-important international race license.
He hopes to someday compete at the famed circuit Spa Francorchamps in his native country, a track he has been to dozens of times, but one he has never driven on. “To compete or even to win a race there, with my family and friends there to cheer me on would really be something special,” he says.