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GT Academy 2012 Race Camp - Day 4

Tuesday, 21 August, 2012: Another tough session of fitness circuit training greeted the remaining GT Academy Europe 2012 competitors this morning. It was hard to know whether it was better for the French and UK/Ireland groups who did it pre-breakfast, or the others who got a slight lie in, but had to perform after their breakfast! Tomorrow, the fitness levels of all competitors will be measured again, with a comparison made against their earlier ‘benchmark’.

The rest of the day was split in two. Three of the territory groups headed off to the nearby ‘Santa Pod Raceway’ – the home of UK drag racing. The remainder stayed at Silverstone and enjoyed the delights of the rear-wheel-drive 370Z getting very sideways on a figure of 8 course to work on their car control.

They followed this with a ‘set-up challenge’. Acting as ‘chief mechanics’ for their mentors, the test was designed to demonstrate the importance of communication skills between team and driver. Pairs of competitors had to quickly assess feedback from their driver and decide the right set-up changes to improve the car’s performance.

Finally, it was back into the classroom where the GT Academy sports psychologist, Gavin Gough, talked them through how Neuro Linguistic Programming and visualisation techniques can be applied to improve performance in motor sport.

At Santa Pod it was a very different type of exercise. The competitors’ reactions, guts and feel were tested in head-to-head drag races on the slippery strip in Nissan 370Zs.

A relatively early night for the competitors precedes a big day tomorrow. One more competitor from each group will leave the competition. Only three will then fight it out to become territory champion and have the chance to proceed to Friday and Saturday’s finale.

As well as the competition, a treat is in store for the racing driver hopefuls on Wednesday. The legendary creator of the Gran Turismo® series of driving simulation games, Kazunori Yamauchi, will spend the day at Race Camp. An enthusiastic racing driver himself, Yamauchi-san was keen to witness first-hand how his ultra-fast gamers are transferring their skills to real Nissan cars on the Silverstone circuit.

Race Camp in numbers

830,000 – the number of gamers from across Europe who downloaded the special GT Academy qualification demo to enter the competition
8000 – the number of meals that will be served at Silverstone for those attending the four Race Camps – Germany, Russia, Europe and USA
148 – the total number of people on-site at Race Camp Europe. This includes 57 film crew, 36 competitors, 15 instructors, 12 event management staff
34 – the number of cars in use at Silverstone for Race Camp
18 – the number of AVID edit suites on-site at Silverstone creating TV shows for each different country
15 – the number of instructors putting the competitors through their paces
11 – the number of countries taking part at Race Camp
6 – the number of territory groups at Race Camp
5.9 – the length, in kms, of Silverstone’s Grand Prix circuit that the territory champions will drive this weekend
1.73 – the length, in kms, of Silverstone’s Stowe circuit, where much of this week’s action takes place
1 – there can be only one winner on Saturday!

Comments from Day 4 of Race Camp

Frank Van Gasteren (NED): “Drag racing is fun. I’ve never done it before. Straight line with so much power. Despite the rubber that we are putting down it is still quite slick out there as there are marbles and gravel. So you do get wheelspin.

“I didn’t practice straight lines before. Maybe I should have done some of the licences on Gran Turismo as experience! I think my reaction skills will improve and I would love to do this again.

“This morning we had two tries in the 370Z doing car control – a bit of ‘drifting’ really - and like all the activities I would like to try it again. More fun!”

Sébastien Bertrand (FRA): “Really happy to be here. This is an amazing opportunity to drive all these cars. I think the single seaters have been my favorite so far. So much fun. I am just very happy to be here and I’m giving everything this week. Drifting in the 370Z was fun today. It’s interesting to get the feeling of the weight transfer which should help in our driving. The theory is good, but the practice is a little different.”

Dani Clos (SPA) Iberia mentor (who seems to have entered a grudge match with his Belgium/Netherlands counterparts!): “We’ve had a really good day today. I have some great drivers here. They were fastest in the drag racing, best at drifting and were better than the Dutch and Belgians in rallying. We are looking forward to tomorrow’s activities, as we will have another opportunity to beat Tim [Coronel] and Bas [Leinders].”

Jordan Tresson (FRA), GT Academy champion 2010: “I have had a lot of fun with the French guys. They are very quick and could go all the way. They work hard and spend the evenings practicing on GT5. It’s a shame that the competition isn’t solely based on GT5 challenges, as we would win, no doubt! They all enjoyed the drifting and drag racing so let’s hope they can put those together to make good drivers and win the competition.”