Winners of the GT Academy!
In the GT Academy campaign run in collaboration between Nissan Europe, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and Polyphony Digital, the final selection round for the two GT Academy winners was held at the Silverstone circuit of the UK, for 5 days between August 27 to 31.
The two men who came out on top of the competition were Lars Schlomer (age 28), a taxi driver from Bonn, Germany, and Lucas Ordonez (age 23) a college student from Spain going for his MBA. Both have said they have always dreamt of becoming race car drivers.
The two men will now go though four months of intensive training to acquire their international racing licenses, and will participate in the Dubai 24 hour race held in the United Arab Emirates, in January 2009.
In the first stage of the GT academy held from June 3 to July 18 on the PlayStation®Network, there were 25,000 participants from across 10 European countries. The 22 finalists from each country who recorded the fastest time in the Gran Turismo 5 Prologue online time trial went into the final selection round.
In this 5 day final selection round at Silverstone, they challenged one grueling test after another, putting not only their driving skill but their physical and mental strengths to the test. In a no-joke bootcamp style physical training session, 5 judges closely scrutinized the participants. Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert participated as a trainer of driving skills, and also gave advice in the final decision.
Comment from Lucas Ordonez
"I can’t believe it. This is a dream come true. I knew this would be difficult and I did not expect to win, but I just took each day as it came and tried to push to my maximum."
Comment from Lars Schlomer
"I have wanted this for the last ten years of my life but I just never had the chance. This is amazing. I truly would have been heartbroken if I hadn’t won. I would not have entered this competition if I did not believe I could win because coming to Silverstone and not winning would have been like giving a dog a bone and then taking it away again!"
Comment from the driving advisor, Johnny Herbert (Former F1 Driver)
"This competition has far exceeded my expectations. I have often thought that somewhere out there is someone who is better than a Lewis, Kimi or Felipe but they just haven’t had the chance to drive. Looking at the 22 GT Academy finalists for the first time, I was sure that we would have a few with absolutely no feeling who wouldn’t make it out of second gear but we didn’t have one. Nobody disgraced themselves and they were doing stuff they have never done before and it was very impressive."