Jose Gerard Policarpio, nicknamed “Joward”, won the first-ever Asian GT Academy in 2015. The Google Accounts Recovery Agent beat 28 of the best Gran Turismo gamers at Race Camp in Silverstone, UK, that had been whittled down from hundreds of thousands of online competitors across Asia.
Joward’s passion for motorsport and his determination to become a professional racing driver stems from his father, who raced for Nissan in the Philippines in the Nineties. Joward grew up watching his father compete and always felt that he would follow in his footsteps, but a lack of funding meant that he was only ever able to compete in amateur races. He feared his dreams would never become a reality until a friend mentioned that GT Academy was coming to the Philippines.
Determined to make the very most of the GT Academy Asia opportunity but unable to apply via the online format due to the Philippines lacking PlayStation™Network, Joward sought out the Live Events that were hosted at different shopping malls across Manila. Despite having no previous experience on Gran Turismo 6, Joward managed to quickly develop his technique to qualify for National Finals where he thrived due to his previous racing experience and physical fitness. To his absolute delight, Joward was selected as one of the top six competitors to represent the Philippines at Race Camp.
Following an impressive five days of Race Camp challenges for Joward, he was selected for the final race on Silverstone’s International Circuit in Nissan 370Z NISMO race cars. Starting from third place on the grid, he got a fantastic start that moved him into second. After biding his time he finally made a move on lap six of ten to take the lead position. Joward managed to hold on with some spectacular defensive driving for the final four laps to take the chequered flag and be crowned the 2015 GT Academy Asia winner.
Joward began his Driver Development Programme (DDP) but whilst taking on the stringent demands of training it came to light that he had a medical condition. After a thorough examination by an FIA accredited doctor the condition was explained and fully understood by Joward who made the decision to return to the Philippines. Joward’s health and well-being had to come first. Nissan Philippines will be supporting Joward as he recuperates and if all goes well, he’ll hopefully be back on the racetrack soon.