By Michael Oellers
Since last Saturday the race is on in Silverstone at the highly anticipated German Race Camp of the Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy Germany 2012. With its Nissan GT Academy the Japanese car manufacturer gives the world’s best online video gamers of “Gran Turismo 5” the unique opportunity to start a professional racing career. The twelve winners of the German preliminary competition qualified two weeks ago at the German finals and now have to prove themselves in many different ways.
In the end there can only be one winner and the decision will also depend on Nick’s goodwill: Together with the passionate amateur racer and full-time German rapper Smudo, a member of the famous German hip hop group “Die Fantastischen Vier” (a.k.a. “Fanta 4”), and the professional German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, often referred to as the “Nordschleifen-legend”, Nick forms part of the jury and decides which one of the twelve participants will finally be the winner. It is only the winner who will have the chance to man a cockpit at the “24H Dubai” race, to compete against the world’s top racing drivers in the gulf emirate and maybe even to start a professional racing career.
A fine example how things can work out is Lucas Ordoñez. The 27-year-old Spaniard had to quit kart racing at the age of 16 because he couldn’t find a sponsor to support him with the necessary budget. Nevertheless in 2008 he took part in the Nissan GT Academy – and ranked first out of 25.000 participants which secured him a starting position at the “24H Dubai” race. He started his career with the help of his teammate Johnny Herbert. Three years later Ordoñez stepped on the podium for the first time, finishing second in the LMP2 rating of the “24 Hours of Le Mans” race, where he competed together with Soheil Ayari and Franck Mailleux in a Signatech Nissan. In 2011, he even managed to win the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and also became best rookie of the LMP2 category.
But that’s a long way to go for the German finalists of the Nissan GT Academy: For them the last few days have been about showing their skills in different disciplines like fitness, a two-hour kart race, test drives at the national race track in Silverstone with a Nissan 370Z and a GT-R, a paintball tournament and acrobatics.
Six out of the twelve participants, namely Andres Monzon, Denny Görsdorf, Nick Sepec, Stefan Jahr, Peter Pyzera and Patrick Langkau, have managed to convince Nick and his jury and will continue to compete in Silverstone in the next days. Later this year the jury will then announce the German winner of the Nissan GT Academy 2012!