Published on September 13th, 2016 | by admin
PlayStation – Australian GT Academy winners announced
SYDNEY, Australia (13 September 2016) – The winners of the Australian Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy final have been decided, following a gruelling two-day competition concluding over the weekend at Warner Bros. Movie World.
The weekend’s event saw the country’s top 6 gamers qualify for the chance to battle it out at the GT Academy International final in the United Kingdom, with a fully funded Nissan racing contract being offered to the overall winner.
The initial 20 Australian finalists were put through a grueling series of challenges including an army-style fitness test, vigorous gaming challenges on the PlayStation® (PS4) exclusive GT Sport, media tests, and a motorkhana component behind the wheel of a Nissan 370Z. With points awarded across all challenges, the competition was whittled down to the Top 6. The six winners are 27-year-old Chris McIvor, 21-year-old Michael Pryor, 22-year-old Oscar Redfearn, 23-year-old Bradley Packham, 33-year-old Steve Danielsen, and 29-year-old Keishi Ayikai.
The virtual racers now head to the GT Academy international final commencing on the 18th October at the Silverstone Circuit. The 8-day event will push the gamers beyond anything they experienced over the weekend, as GT Academy’s Daniel Whittemore explained:
“The next step is mostly based out of Silverstone circuit, where we test them on activities similar to that at the national final. They are the skills that make up a racing driver: communication, emotional intelligence, how they conduct themselves, and how they can control their emotions under pressure. The big emphasis will be on driving challenging, looking at real world skills. They’ll be driving at Silverstone circuit, amongst others across the UK. They’ll also be going over some pretty tough fitness exercises, where we’ll see who has the winning determination to battle all the odds to become the GT Academy Champion.
Whittmore’s advice to the Top 6 finalists:
“There are going to be 30 other guys coming from all over the world, and they want to win GT Academy as much as the guys from Australia. So you’ve got to give yourself a competitive advantage wherever you can. So start to sharpen up on those skills.”
Nissan Motorsport’s Dale Wood and Todd Kelly were both on hand to mentor the finalists across the two days. Kelly considers GT Academy an unusual path into motorsport, he concedes that after 8 years the gamer-to-racer program’s results speak for themselves.
“I’m a bit old fashioned with everything technical in computers, whether it be social media or PlayStation,” said Kelly. “I probably was skeptical, but have been proven wrong pretty quickly. To see some of the guys we’ve had in our cars at Winton that have come through the program have blown me away.”
The mentoring that both real-world racers provided proved invaluable, as all 20 competitors were pushed to their limits.”
“It’s good to be in a position to help these guys extract the most amount of talent they have to offer. Whether it be by just telling them to be calm or relax, or whatever it might be, to make sure they get the most out of the opportunity.”
One of the 6 finalists to be qualify for the International final is Steve Danielsen. The 33-year-old musical theatre performer will now head to international race camp representing Australian with the aim on winning the ultimate prize.
“It’s pretty hard to put into words, it’s pretty overwhelming,” said Danielsen. “So far it’s been an amazing prize to come to the Gold Coast to compete in the GT Academy 2016 finals. But now I get to head to England to compete in the International race-camp in October, which is just blowing my mind.”
“It’s a dream come true. This whole program, being able to provide people like me who might not have had the opportunity to become a race driver, this is giving us a chance to do that. So it’s just amazing.”