Le Mans 24 hour dream comes true for Gran Turismo® maestro
Silverstone, 13 June 2011 - Lucas Ordoñez completed his switch from the virtual world of PlayStation®3 with a very real LMP2-class second place finish in the Le Mans 24 Hour race for the Signatech Nissan team on Sunday (12 June). The Spanish winner of the 2008 GT Academy, a collaboration between Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) and Nissan Europe to unearth a real racing talent from the popular Gran Turismo® game, showed the full potential of the programme by graduating from gamer to the Le Mans 24 Hour podium after just two full race seasons.
Following successful campaigns in the European GT4 Cup driving a Nissan 370Z, this year Lucas stepped up to race a Nissan-powered LMP2 car in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. With his Signatech Nissan team-mates, Franck Mailleux and Soheil Ayari, Lucas fulfilled a lifelong ambition when he earned the hard-fought podium at the famous Circuit de la Sarthe.
“It was a day when all of my dreams came true,” said Lucas. “Three years ago I won an amazing prize but never in my wildest dreams did I think that it would take me all the way to the Le Mans podium. I have been on the biggest adventure you could ever imagine and I must thank Nissan and PlayStation for creating GT Academy! I also have to thank my two teachers, Franck and Soheil, from whom I have learnt so much, and of course the Signatech Nissan boss, Philippe Sinault. Finally I must thank my family and friends for putting up with me while I pursue my dream. It will take a while for this to sink in for me but so far it is the most amazing feeling.”
In an exciting and dramatic race, Nissan powered cars took both first and second place in the LMP2 class. The Greaves Motorsport Zytec Nissan took class honours to mark a successful return to Le Mans for the Japanese manufacturer.
Among the most interested fans to witness Lucas’s spectacular achievement were the 2011 crop of GT Academy hopefuls. The 12 competitors - representing France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the UK – were chosen from among the fastest GT5 gamers. They started their latest challenge, the GT Academy Race Camp, with an inspirational visit to Le Mans and their own endurance race at the Alain Prost Karting Circuit.
From Le Mans, the potential racing drivers drove a convoy of red and white GT Academy Nissan 370Zs to Silverstone Circuit. They now face a four-day gruelling schedule consisting of fitness, mental and driving challenges.