GLAMOROUS ABU DHABI PLAYS HOST TO LARGEST GT ACADEMY EUROPE RACE CAMP TO DATE26 Oct 2015, Posted by Automotive, Events, Gaming, General, Motor Sport, Social Media in
For the first time in its history, the NISMO PlayStation® GT Academy Europe Race Camp moved away from Silverstone in favour of the warmer climes of Abu Dhabi. Based at the five-star Yas Viceroy hotel, which is perched on top of the Yas Marina F1 Circuit, 56 gamers from 11 countries would battle against one another for the chance to be named 2015 GT Academy Europe Winner.
The competition began with eight finalists from each of the seven territories eager to prove themselves in the multiple challenges they would face during the eight sweltering days of Race Camp. The lure of Abu Dhabi pulled in an impressive line-up of mentors to oversee each of the territories: Max Chilton (UK); Dani Clos (Iberia); Olivier Pla (France); JP Kraemer (Germany); Tim Coronel (Benelux); Michela Cerutti (Italy); and Josef Král (Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary). Meanwhile Rob Barff, GT Academy’s regular Head Judge, was supported this year by Adrian Newey OBE, F1 legend and Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer.
HPS Jardine’s role at Race Camp crossed over in to several aspects of PR and communications and required an eight person-strong team to face the scorching Arabian sun. A snapshot of the facets the team got involved in were: to manage and optimise the media’s experience on event; to capture action, lifestyle and behind the scenes imagery of the competitors, Nissan race cars and spectacular locations through photography and videography; to write press releases and daily reports to keep all the relevant parties up-to-date; and to run all of the GT Academy social media channels.
The competitors underwent some of the most gruelling challenges that had ever been thrown at GT Academy Race Camp finalists, from a desert assault course in 42 degrees centigrade heat that cut the field down to 28 finalists, to drag racing Nissan 370Zs, street racing on a bridge in Nissan GT-Rs and even a dune buggy time trial.
The entire competition came down to one definitive six lap race around the Yas Marina F1 circuit on the final day, with each territory represented by their remaining competitor. The grid positions were determined the evening before in an e-gaming Gran Turismo® race. Ben Bishop from the UK would start on pole position followed by drivers from France, CEE, Iberia, Benelux, Italy and then Germany.
Frenchman Romain Sarazin got a fantastic start which enabled him to dive down the inside of Ben into turn one and hold the position into the chicane. Over the course of the race, Romain slowly increased his lead over the pack, putting in a fastest final lap. Elsewhere in the field Simone Marceno from Italy fought his way up from sixth to third with some incredible overtaking manoeuvres, but it was Romain who was first to see the chequered flag and was consequently crowned 2015 GT Academy Europe Winner.
Romain has already begun the Driver Development Programme with NISMO with the objective of qualifying for an International ‘C’ Race Licence.
The GT Academy TV show is expected to be aired early in 2016. More details about GT Academy 2015 can be found on various platforms including: www.facebook.com/GTAcademy, www.gran-turismo.com, twitter.com/GTAcademy #RacingDriverWanted, and www.flickr.com/photos/gtacademyeurope/albums