Earlier this year at the Auto Expo, Nissan surprised us by announcing the arrival of the Gran Turismo Academy to India. For those the uninitiated, the GT Academy is an interesting platform which allows motorsport fans to prove their driving skills on a Sony Playstation. Through the popular Gran Turismo racing simulator, gamers with the fastest lap times stand a chance to make a shift from the virtual world to the real world of motor racing.
Sounds like a lot of fun and it definitely was! But getting to the top of the lap times isn't cakewalk. Over 5,000 contestants took up the challenge in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai out of which 28 participants made it to the final round in Jaipur.
In the first round, the participants set their time trials on the Silverstone International Circuit and the final lap times were in the range of 1m3sec to 1min4sec. The top 18 participants were selected after the round, on the basis of their lap times. Further six participants were eliminated from these 18 after the Monaco street circuit. The fastest lap time recorded was 1m36sec, while the highest was 2 seconds higher at 1m38sec.
The qualifying 12 participants were then taken to the next level where the real tests started. A driving test on a polo ground in Jaipur saw the contestants competing on a short autocross circuit in a Nissan Micra Active. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that all the gamers turned out to be pretty comfortable behind the wheel on a real car too.
Since physical fitness is of such great importance in motorsport,the tasks above werefollowed by a fitness challenge too. This test turned out to be quite the revelation for contestants as different body types worked out for different challenges like push-ups, endurance runs and high jumps.
The contestants even got a taste of the limelight with mock questions from the press, to help judge their ability to handle media.
A combination of all the skills were judged to pick out the final six participants who will now head to Silverstone. The Nissan GT Academy will train them for the real world of endurance racing. But the challenges don't end here. The contestants will face finalists from countries like Mexico, Thailand and Australia and the winners will then continue with their motorsport education in Dubai.
The following six finalists get to fuel their motorsport ambitions, courtesy the Nissan GT Academy: -