GT Academy 2015 European Winner Announced
GT Academy 2015 European Race Camp concluded on the 12th October (local time) at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, with France's Romain Sarazin announced as the overall winner.
Romain is an economics and management student from Meyzieu, a suburb of Lyon, France. He emerged as the strongest of all the drivers who were gathered in Abu Dhabi - 56 in total, from 11 European countries. He performed excellently on each day of the Race Camp, which meant that the French team's mentor, NISMO's LMP1 driver Olivier Pla, had no hesitation in selecting him to be their finalist. On the final day, the winner was to be decided in a 6-lap one-make race in which each driver drove a Nissan 370Z. Romain dominated throughout the race, and set a fastest lap record in the process.
Attending Race Camp in Abu Dhabi was an unbelievable experience for those who took part. Though the temperature reached over 40 degrees at times, it proved to be a really wonderful opportunity to experience the lifestyle of an international racing driver. Staying at the luxurious Viceroy Hotel, was a dream come true, especially since it is located right next to the home of the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix. Some of the highlights of Race Camp included taking part in a GT-R race car gymkhana on a beautiful suspension bridge, racing Nissan 370Zs along the circuit and on drag strips, and taking to the dunes to race in buggies. The drivers also got to spend the night in a tent out in the desert - another memory that will last a lifetime.
This year's entire GT Academy process was a way for Nissan and PlayStation to send out a message declaring "we want a racing driver!". The results in Abu Dhabi mean that this racing driver has been found, and Romain will now join GT Academy's much-praised Driver Development Programme. This programme has a clear aim: to turn drivers into NISMO athletes, ready to take on the world alongside their team-mates.
A Comment from Romain Sarazin
"I’m really thrilled. I knew I had to get a good start because it’s difficult to overtake. After I got past Ben in the first corner I just had to keep cool and build a gap. I saw the others fighting behind me, and it made it easier for me to get away. This is a huge achievement and will completely change my life. I’m lucky enough to now have a chance to live my dream, and I can’t wait to get started!”
A Comment from Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing's Chief Technical Officer
"I was very impressed with that race, considering that the guys haven’t raced before. There was no contact at all. Once they were away it was a very tight race. Romain did well to open up a gap and utilise the space while the cars behind slowed each other down. He controlled the gap very well, which I enjoyed. It has been a fascinating experience to come here and see GT Academy in action. I can see that this programme will become an increasingly important route into motor sport for young people to chase their dream, as the costs of the traditional karting and Formula-racing route continue to escalate. It’s a great shame that there can only be one winner."