When we use the term Motorsport in India, people don’t dwell on it but when we say Cricket, there is a huge bunch of people asking – what’s the score? This situation is quite disturbing for motorsport enthusiasts in India. There is little or almost no recognition of motorsports in our country when compared to other sports. Reason being, difficult reach, lack of knowledge, insufficient infrastructure and it’s quite expensive. However, now the distant dream of aspiring Indian race drivers would no more be distant but a dream, which they can achieve with the help of Nissan GT Academy.
The Nissan GT Academy in association with PlayStation is a unique platform for gaming enthusiasts as well as aspiring racers that get a chance to pursue a career in motor racing. The driver discovery and development programme transforms virtual talent into reality. The Nissan PlayStation GT Academy started in 2008 and is quite popular in Europe, Russia, the USA, the Middle East and South Africa. In India, more than 5000 people participated through a time-trial competition on PlayStation GT6 racing simulators. The qualifying rounds were conducted at shopping malls in New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai.
The national finals were held in Jaipur and we were there to cover the intensive testing and evaluation of the 28 finalists. The final evaluation included simulator time trials, driving challenge on the track with the Nissan Micra and a fitness challenge. Physical strength, mental strength and personalities were also evaluated. Selection of the final six was based on their overall performance considering all the parameters. The six Indian finalists will compete against six contestants each from Thailand, Mexico, Australia and the Middle East at Silverstone, the United Kingdom.
The international contestants will undergo exhaustive and rigorous training for mental and physical strength under the supervision of motorsports experts. Nissan GT Academy will be testing their driving skills at the Formula One Silverstone motor racing circuit in the Nismo-tuned Nissan GT-R and Nissan 370Z. The winner of the Silverstone Race Camp will further undergo three-month Driver Development Programme to polish his skills to compete in an international graduation race.
Mr. Darren Cox, Global Director, Nissan Motorsports (NISMO) was present at the Nissan GT Academy India National Final and he believes that our country has plenty of promising motor racing talent. Nissan GT Academy believes that simulators and virtual racing really helps and contributes a lot to real racing. Their ultimate aim is to train drivers from the grassroots level for the 24 Hours Le Mans. With the introduction of Nissan GT Academy in India, we hope the interest in motor racing amongst youngsters and enthusiasts spreads and grows even further.
Nissan GT PlayStation Academy India Finalists –
- Abhinav Bhatt (New Delhi)
- Abhinay Bikkani (Bangalore)
- Prakash Nair (Trivandrum)
- Akshay Gupta (Mumbai)
- Glen Ivan Suchitha (Bangalore)
- Karl Patel (Mumbai)