Nissan GT Academy launched in the Philippines

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Ricardo Sanchez (seated at the pod) together with NPI executives (from left) SJ Huh, Antonio Zara and Laurence Wilshire

Ricardo Sanchez (seated at the pod) together with NPI executives (from left) SJ Huh, Antonio Zara and Laurence Wilshire

Search for best GT 6 player, now on
NISSAN Philippines Inc. (NPI) officially began its search for the best Filipino racecar driver with the launch of the Nissan Gran Tursimo (GT) Academy during ceremonies held at the Glorietta Mall in Makati City last week.

The Nissan GT Academy gained prominence after its inception in 2008, with a big number of Gran Turismo virtual racers turned into professional racecar drivers.

The GT Academy, which is now on its seventh year, is a globally played competition.  The Philippines GT Academy is an expansion of the GT Academy Asia, in which Filipino competitors will be pitted against virtual racers from other Asian countries, including Japan.

“With the launch of GT Academy in the Philippines, we at Nissan offer an exciting opportunity for Filipinos to emerge as a breakthrough talent in the racing world,” said Antonio Zara, president and managing director of NPI.


With GT Academy, any player who can prove their driving skills in the world of video games can compete in a real racetrack.

Ricardo Sanchez, the 2014 GT Academy international champion, was flown in to Manila, all the way from the United Kingdom, to attend the launch.  After winning last year’s competition, Sanchez’s racing career took-off, and later, was able to join Nissan’s elite motorsport team, the NISMO, to run the coveted tracks of the prestigious Dubai 24-Hour race in January 2015.

The shift from gamer to racer
The GT Academy takes skilled “Gran Turismo 6” players and turns them into professional racers in five stages: First, the recruitment of participants will take place from April to June. Thousands of hopefuls will be narrowed down to the top 20 gamers, and determined through time trials that will take place behind the wheel of GT pods during live racing events; Second, the “national finals” in July will determine “top 6” Filipino players who will go to the next round and go bumper-to-bumper with the best “GT 6” in Asia; Third, the “Race Camp Week” will be held in August. Players will be tested on their strength, stamina, mental agility and driving skills against Asia’s best at the Silverstone Racing Circuit in the United Kingdom; Fourth, this stage will see the drivers moving up to the “Driver Development Program.”

The emerging GT Academy champion in Asia will join other GT Academy winners in a rigorous training under the wing of professional coaches and racers at the Silverstone Racing Circuit in UK; Fifth is the graduation. After passing the “Driver Development Program,” graduates will receive their International C License, allowing them to compete in a prestigious racing event anywhere in the world.

“We are looking forward to discovering even more new stars in 2015. Anyone in the Philippines who think they have what it takes should give GT Academy a go. Not everyone can win, but the experience is hugely rewarding at every stage of the competition,” said Laurence Wiltshire, GTA Global’s managing director.

For the schedule of live events and updates on the GT Academy Philippines, visit www.facebook.com/NissanPhilippinesInc.

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