For 2012, Germany held its own GT Academy, with one of the preliminary trials of the inaugural event staged at the famed Nürburgring circuit. From over 96,000 gamers, Peter Pyzera emerged the winner, becoming the country’s first Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy champion at Silverstone in 2012.
Pyzera grew up rooting for his countryman Michael Schumacher when the German champion was dominating Formula 1; however, Pyzera’s real love was the World Rally Championship (WRC). He idolised the way WRC drivers slid and jumped over all kinds of challenging terrain, demonstrating exceptional car-control skills. His favorite WRC driver was Sebastian Loeb. On his days off, he and his friends would go searching for mud trails and dirt roads in their own road cars. Pyzera has owned about 16 cars in his life, his favorite so far being the Vauxhall Frontera because it was “the most fun and capable in the dirt.” His dream of one day becoming a WRC driver has come one step closer to reality, thanks to the GT Academy.
Pyzera, who had no prior racing experience, began GT Academy’s intensive Driver Development Program in late 2012. He and three other regional winners have been training over a three-month period for the demanding 24 Hours of Dubai endurance race, where they shared two Nissan 370Z GT4 racecars. In addition to their tightly packed schedule of coaching sessions across various elements, they participated in a series of competitive race weekends to gain the experience and signatures to qualify for an International C racing licence ahead of the 24 Hours of Dubai in January 2013. The first weekend of November 2012 saw Peter and his GT Academy teammates return to Donington where they successfully completed a trouble free run in the four-hour “Night Race” and in the process they secured the all-important international race licence.
This was Pyzera’s first exposure to real-life race training, and he admits the DDP is a very tough and challenging program, both physically and mentally, but he says it’s an experience he wouldn’t trade for anything. “It was very hard there, and you need to be focused or you won’t make it through.”