Nissan Selects Aussie GT Academy Team
Aussie entrants now selected for Nissan PlayStation racing driver competition geared for Silverstone showdown in August.
Following an intense two-day camp on the Gold Coast, six young gamers have been selected to represent Australia at the forthcoming Nissan GT Academy world finals at Silverstone.
The lucky six are: Tyler Blackburn (20), Nick Dalton (21), Elliott Schutte (29), Matthew Simmons (26), Simon Feigl (30) and Corey Creed (25). They emerged victorious from a group of 20 hopefuls who took part in the taxing two-day Gold Coast competition at Movie World.
At the beginning of next month, the six will venture to the UK and take part in the world finals at Silverstone against each other and rivals from around the globe, with the winner set to secure a full contract with Nissan’s GT3 programme.
“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever felt,” said Schutte, who travelled from Western Australia to Queensland having secured a place at the finals via the live qualifiers.
“You just have to keep going, even though you don’t know where you’re at.
“Now it’s time to re-focus and start preparing for Silverstone. I’m going over there to give it everything, that’s why I’m here.”
Rick Kelly, V8 Supercars driver and programme mentor, said: “It’s a good diverse range of guys.
“Having been over last year I have a good understanding of what it’s going to be like. Now these guys are through, they’ve got three weeks to prepare themselves for what will be the biggest opportunity of their life.”
The seven-year GT Academy programme has already produced several real-life racing talents, including GP3 driver Jann Mardenborough and Nissan LMP1 driver Lucas Ordonez.
Wolfgang Reip and Florian Strauss, the reigning Bathurst 12-Hour winners, are also products of the GT Academy.
Speaking about his experience, Matthew Simmons, who is a courier van driver for Australian Post, said: “I can’t wait to go over top my first race track in Europe, go out in race cars and compete on the international stage. It’s going to be amazing.
“I was devastated last year (when failing to progress from 2014 GT Academy Australian Final), but I never saw it as a negative, I took it all as a positive.
“The next day, I was straight into training to get myself better to become a race car driver. Over the last few days, I’ve felt that I could bring it, and having this medal around my neck means absolutely everything.”