GT Academy 2015 Winner Enters the Blancpain Endurance Series
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has announced that the 2015 GT Academy winner, Matthew Simmons (International Competition, Australia) and Romain Sarazin (European Competition, France) will be participating in the widely anticipated annual Blancpain Endurance Series. They will be representing Nissan PlayStation GT Academy Team RJN, piloting a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.
Simmons had originally been slated to compete in the 24 Hours of Dubai in January, but those plans were scrapped when his co-driver, Joward Policarpio of the Philippines—the winner of the GT Academy Asia Competition—had to withdraw due to health issues. Policarpio’s inability to compete was confirmed by an FIA doctor, appointed by Nissan, which led to his withdrawal from the company’s driver development program. He is now back in his home country on the road to recovery with support from Nissan Philippines.
The 24 Hour Dubai race is traditionally the first professional contest awarded to the winners of Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy’s International and Asia competitions; however, due to the unprecedented circumstances of losing a co-driver right before the race, Simmons was assigned by the Nissan race team to compete in the more competitive Blancpain Endurance Series because he showed great promise throughout the driver development program.
Simmons will be joining Sarazin, the winner of the Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy European competition held in Abu Dhabi in October 2015, who ran the entire season in the Blancpain Endurance Series last year.
2016 BLANCPAIN ENDURANCE SERIES:Pre-Season Test: Paul Ricard (France), March 8-10
Round 1: Monza (Italy), April 23-24
Round 2: Silverstone (UK), May 14-15
Round 3: Paul Ricard (France), June 24-25
Official Test Day: Spa Francorchamps (Belgium), July 5
Round 4: 24 Hours of Spa Francorchamps (Belgium), July 28-31
Round 5: Nürburgring (Germany), September 17-18