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GT Academy 2015 European Race Camp - Day 1

Temperatures approaching 40°C on day one of the NISMO PlayStation® GT Academy European Race Camp 2015, gave the 56 competitors from 11 European countries a warning for what is to come this week. However, it was a relatively gentle introduction to the first Race Camp to take place at Abu Dhabi’s stunning Yas Marina Circuit. The Gran Turismo® gamers spent the morning in the classroom, studying for their ARDS (basic racing licence) test, a pre-requisite for the on-track action that lies ahead.

From the classroom, and then the inevitable photo session, the competitors headed to the top of one of the emirate’s standout buildings, the 268 metre tall Nation Towers. Chief Instructor Rob Barff flew in by helicopter to greet the competitors officially and lay out the expectations of the GT Academy team over the next seven days. At stake is a dream come true for the gamers, a chance to change their lives forever. A place on the GT Academy Driver Development Programme can lead to a career in top-level motor sport.

The competitors headed back to their hotel to meet their territory mentors and show them what they could do on the Gran Turismo game that has opened the door to this life changing opportunity. The impressive line-up of mentors includes: Max Chilton (UK); Dani Clos (Iberia); Olivier Pla (France); JP Kraemer (Germany); Tim Coronel (Benelux); Michela Cerutti (Italy); and Josef Král (Poland, Czech Rep. & Hungary).

They are backed up by a support team of GT Academy instructors and team leaders including a number of the GT Academy champions who are now NISMO Athletes: Ricardo Sánchez (Mexico), Gaëtan Paletou (France), Mark Shulzhitskiy (Russia), Miguel Faisca (Portugal), Florian Strauss (Germany), and recently-crowned Blancpain Endurance Pro Drivers Champion Wolfgang Reip (Belgium).

A long first day ended with the eager competitors getting their chance behind the wheel of a car for the first time. The challenge took place in a pair of Nissan Juke cars fitted with ‘easy drift’ rear tyres to enable them to ‘drift’ the car. The idea was to get an early indication of the competitors’ car handling abilities before they head out onto the track in the days ahead.

Rob Barff, GT Academy Chief Instructor: “Today has really been an introduction to the Middle East for the gamers. A real change of scenery and what an amazing scene with the helicopter arrival with 56 competitors on the top of the Nation Towers in the heart of Abu Dhabi. An amazing start, but sadly we’ll lose a number of people tomorrow. We have a tough day lined up as GT Academy really gets going.”

For a list of all 56 Finalists and to see who's left in the competition, please check the "European Race Camp" special page by following the link in the Related Links section below.