Fighting Finish at Le Mans for GT Academy Champions
Another GT Academy milestone was reached on the weekend of 16-17 June when two former champions, Spaniard Lucas Ordoñez and Frenchman Jordan Tresson, both raced and finished the famous Le Mans 24 Hour race. The Nissan-powered pair finished eighth and ninth respectively in the LMP2 class, 15th and 16th overall out of the 56 starters.
After finishing second in LMP2 last year, Lucas Ordoñez, the Inaugural GT Academy winner, wanted a win this year, but it wasn't to be. Teamed with former Le Mans winner Martin Brundle and his son Alex in the Greaves Motorsport Zytek Nissan, he put up a great fight throughout, posting the ninth fastest time in a competitive class full of experienced professional drivers. He particularly enjoyed his battle with fellow GT Academy winner Jordan Tresson in the closing stages of the race.
"The race was really hard at the beginning as we had some issues with the car," explained Lucas. "Once we sorted these the car was flying. We were running quite highly, but lost some positions in the night as we were starting to suffer a problem with the throttle. I had an off because of this, but I was recovered from the gravel and got back to the pits. My last stint was great for me and I really enjoyed it as it felt so good in the car. The race was definitely harder than last year as the level of competition is so high. Unfortunately the luck wasn't with us this time but maybe next time!"
"Jordan did a really great job. I was watching his lap times in the night and he was very good. I’m happy to see another GT Academy winner here and I enjoyed my battle with him."
Jordan, winner of the second GT Academy in 2010, made his Le Mans debut, impressing the Signatech Nissan team with his professionalism as he powered to ninth place alongside Franck Mailleux and Olivier Lombard.
"I'm actually disappointed that we didn't finish higher up the order," said Jordan. "But I enjoyed my first Le Mans a lot! I did two quadruple stints during the race so I had to work hard to keep my focus. You can really scare yourself if you lose concentration. I am happy with my times and I think the team was happy with my performance. I didn't break anything anyway! The only issue I had was during my stint early this morning. I ran into the sunrise with a clear visor and had to do some serious squinting in the corners. I feel great after the race and would happily go in for another stint now. I've had a great week and I continue to learn more with every lap."
Nissan put in an excellent performance at Le Mans with nine of the top ten cars in the ultra-competitive LMP2 Class powered by Nissan engines. Unfortunately, the crowd-pleasing, innovative Nissan DeltaWing was shunted off the track leading to an early retirement. The pioneering dart-shaped car had been running a good pace and was on course for its pre-race prediction of using half the fuel of the LMP1 cars over race distance.
The search for a new, 2012 GT Academy champion continues this week. Over 750,000 players across Europe have already downloaded the special qualification demo from PlayStation®Store onto their systems. But those who think they have what it takes have until the early hours of Monday 25 June in Europe (it closes at 23:59 hrs BST on 24 June, 00:59 CEST on 25 June) to download and enter the competition, working their way through a series of challenges on PlayStation®3 before setting their best time on a virtual lap of Motegi's Twin-Ring circuit.
The fastest gamers from each participating country will be invited to take part in a National Final live event. From there the action will move to Race Camp at Silverstone, and real Nissan race cars, with the European winner set to benefit from an intense and comprehensive Driver Development Programme in preparation to race in the Dubai 24 Hours in January, 2013. With the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Lucas, Jordan and 2011-winner Jann Mardenborough, the stakes are high in this life-changing competition.