For the first time since GT Academy’s inception in 2008, Asia held their very own GT Academy with hundreds of thousands of gamers vying to be crowned the overall winner and secure a professional race contract with Nissan Motorsport. For Japan, Philippines and Indonesia this was the first year that a GT Academy competition had been run in their territory, with both Thailand and India debuting as part of GT Academy International in 2014.
Budding racing drivers could qualify for Race Camp through two routes, either via an online Gran Turismo competition or through live events, with one hundred contestants winning a place at National Finals. National Finals were hosted in Chennai (India), Tokyo (Japan), Bangkok (Thailand), Manilla (Philippines) and Sentul near Bogor (Indonesia).
Only six lucky contestants from each territory would progress from the National Finals to make the long flight to the Silverstone Circuit in the UK. Once there, the competitors would be introduced to their respective country mentors to help guide them through the challenging six-day event. The mentors came from a variety of motorsport backgrounds and included Karun Chandhok (India), Hamish Daud Wyllie (Indonesia), Katsumasa Chiyo (Japan), Marlon Stockinger (Philippines) and Sandy Stuvik (Thailand).
|Head Judge: Rob Barff
|Judge: Marlon Stockinger
|Judge: Katsumasa Chiyo
|Raphael Miru Lesaguis
|Lee Jung Woo
|Jose Gerard Policarpio
|Judge: Karun Chandhok
|Judge: Sandy Stuvik
|Judge: Hamish Daud Wyllie
|Kreshna Augusta Mulyo Adi
The entire event was overseen by long standing head judge, Rob Barff, who was immediately impressed by the fitness and preparation the GT Academy Asia competitors had gone to to prepare for Race Camp.
The challenges came thick and fast throughout their week at Race Camp with gamers being thrown into the action on their first day when they got behind the wheel of single seaters, Caterham racers, Nissan GT-Rs and JPLM cars at Bedford Autodrome. Throughout the week, various surprise challenges were given to the competitors, including the ‘GT Ninja’ assault course, an innovative army-style Gymkhana driving race, dune buggy racing, head-to-head timed shootouts on the Silverstone track and an incredibly eventful Nissan Micra stock car race which saw only two cars finish.
The final event of Race Camp was determined by a thrilling ten-lap race around Silverstone’s International Circuit in Nissan 370Z NISMO race cars. Pole-sitter Andika Rama from Indonesia started the race well and led into the first corner, ahead of Jose Gerard Policarpio from the Philippines who had leapfrogged Takuya Takahashi from Japan. Policarpio quickly got on the tail of Rama and for the first four laps the pair crossed the line separated by under a second with Takahasi settled in third just under two seconds behind. However after patiently waiting for his opportunity, Policarpio then made his move on the fifth lap to incisively take the lead of the race. Unfortunately the fifth lap proved to be the end of Takahashi’s race as he limped into the pits with a mechanical problem. This left Policarpio and Rama to fight it out unchallenged at the front.
The drama was saved for the last lap when Policarpio exited Club corner extremely slowly. This allowed Rama to get in to his slipstream and after following him closely through Stowe he was poised to make a move into the final corner. Rama went for the inside line but some impressive defensive driving from Policarpio meant he held on and crossed the line just two-tenths clear of his rival.
After some deliberation from Rob Barff and the instructors, Jose Gerard Policarpio from the Philippines was crowned the first-ever Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy Asia champion.