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GT Academy

GT Academy 2012 Race Camp - Day 2

Sunday, 19 August, 2012: A six o’clock start greeted the 36 racing driver hopefuls from across Europe at the GT Academy Race Camp this morning. A warm-up run was followed by a race around the Stowe Circuit and then two intense rounds of circuit training. The session was orchestrated by the team that has been responsible for the physical conditioning of the last two GT Academy winners – Jordan Tresson and Jann Mardenborough - as part of their Driver Development Programmes. Working with a number of elite athletes, the team has developed bespoke training programmes for racing drivers.

For much of the remainder of the day it was back to school for the competitors. In order to qualify for a racing licence – and the chance to compete in this weekend’s finale – the 36 gamers must pass the ‘ARDS’ test. The ARDS is UK governing body the MSA’s most basic race licence that consists of a written test followed by a practical, on-track test with a senior ARDS instructor.

The final challenge of the day was the ‘laser challenge’ with the competitors going head to head in a test of strength, determination and concentration as they hold out a steering wheel in a perfectly still driving position.

Tomorrow the competition hots up with some serious and very varied driving activities. It is a big day for the competitors as the first of the scheduled eliminations will take place. For some, it will signify the end of their dream unless they can impress the judges, mentors and instructors behind the wheel.


Comments from Day 2 of Race Camp

Rob Jenkinson, chief driver coach: “Today’s focus was on making sure everyone qualified for their ARDS, without which you simply cannot race in the UK. I am afraid that there were a couple of failures, but luckily you do get a second chance, but it’s not good!

“On the whole my impression and the feedback from our instructors is good this year. About 80% of the drivers were within 1.5 seconds of the quickest and that was only about a second off the instructors’ pace. We had a few standout karters, but it is a good general standard. Tomorrow they have lots of driving and each challenge is going to be very different so it is crucial for them to impress their mentors and instructors because we’re going to lose some from the end of the day.”

Bas Leinders (BEL), mentor to the Netherlands/Belgium group: "I am currently leading the Blancpain championship so I know of Jann's story. It’s a very competitive series and the cars are great to drive, but if you want to run up front you need to invest heavily. That's motorsport. It has always been expensive, but I think it was a lot more accessible when I was growing up. That's why GT Academy is such a good opportunity for young drivers. It gives them the help they need to race in proper racing series and not have to worry about having to find the money from somewhere to race and learn to race. The drivers can concentrate on what counts, being fast! It is great to be here to help in that process."

Darian Rojnic, Italian competitor (2nd in Italian karting): "Today has been very enjoyable, the early morning start was difficult, and the physical activities were very tough. But I learned a lot about myself. It’s great to drive the Nissan 370Z again in real life. Yesterday was really difficult as it was the first day and we have to impress the mentors and judges. We were talking about it earlier. We all put a lot of effort into the first part of the day (benchmarking and physical training), which meant that we were all tired when it came to the karting. It was the same for all of us, so no one really gained an advantage. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the week."