Nissan and PlayStation’s award-winning driver discovery and development programme, GT Academy, will spread further across the globe in 2014.
The Nissan PlayStation GT Academy has been discovering new talent since 2008. Gamers living in Europe, Russia, the USA, the Middle East and South Africa have an annual opportunity to become the next Lucas Ordonez or Jann Mardenborough. Now a wider group of gamers will get a shot at one of the biggest opportunities in motorsport.
Nissan has entered a line-up of 10 drivers for the Dubai 24 Hours, all of which are different nationalities. Nissan GT Academy Team RJN will run two Nissan 370Z Nismos in the race that has been the traditional ‘prize drive’ for winners of GT Academy.
The Class of 2013
The four newest GT Academy winners and their mentor, 2008 winner Lucas Ordonez, will race the first of the 370Z Nismos. In 2013 GT Academy ran competitions in Europe, Germany, Russia and the USA. The four winners were selected during the rigorous Race Camp finals, held at Silverstone in September.
Miguel Faisca, 24, is the winner of GT Academy Europe. The Portuguese racer was studying Mechanical Engineering when he beat almost a million gamers to the prize in September 2013.
Florian Strauss, a 29 year-old Berliner, was a car rental manager when he won GT Academy Germany.
GT Academy USA winner, Nick McMillen, is a 20 year-old ex Volkswagen Salesman from Salem in Oregon.
Stansislav Aksenov is the 22 year-old winner of GT Academy Russia who is hoping to following in the footsteps of 2012 Russian winner Mark Shulzhitskiy who recently made his LM P2 debut.
Lucas Ordonez needs no introduction. The first winner of GT Academy has gone on to take two podium finishes at Le Mans and claimed the Blancpain Endurance Series Pro-Am driver’s title just a couple of months ago.
The line up of the first 370Z Nismo demonstrates the spread of GT Academy across the globe. The line up in the second car will ask the question ‘where next for GT Academy?’
“Every year the Dubai 24 Hours is a great test of our newest graduates,” said Nissan’s Director of Global Morosports, Darren Cox. “This year we thought it would be great to get together some other friends from across the world to experience the speed of the Academy drivers directly.”
Karun Chandhok is India’s best-known racing driver. A successful career in single-seaters took him all the way to Formula One before he made the switch to sportscars.
James Moffat is already a winner for Nissan in Australia where he races a Nissan Altima in the V8 Supercars Championship. Lucas Ordonez and Michael Krumm tested his car earlier this year so now it’s James’ turn to switch seats.
Tor Graves hails from Thailand and has raced for Delta ADR in a Nissan-powered Oreca LM P2 car in the FIA World Endurance Championship for the past two seasons.
Salman Al Khater is the 29 year-old winner of the first GT Academy Middle East. He has already won an international endurance race as, along with Ashley Oldfield and Tomas Scheckter, he took a class win in this year’s Britcar 1000kms at Silverstone.
Ashley Oldfield is the first winner of GT Academy South Africa. The 29 year old raced to victory at the Britcar 1000kms at Silverstone this year.
“GT Academy is getting huge international interest,” continued Cox. “We know that there are gamers outside of the traditional GT Academy territories that want a shot at winning so in 2014 we will announce where GT Academy will go next. Nissan is an international company with global ambitions and it’s exciting that GT Academy reflects that.”