Team VVV visited Silverstone to get an inside look at this year's grueling GT Academy International Finals, where seasoned Gran Turismo gamers were competing for the ultimate prize to turn their ultimate driving dreams into a reality: a chance to drive for Nissan as a professional racing driver.
In this special series of videos, Alan documents the incredible journey of the finalists as they acquire the skills necessary to apply their virtual driving skills out on the track. With unprecedented access to Silverstone, we get to learn the challenges the young hopefuls faced with in-depth discussions with their mentors, chat to previous winners to find out what it takes to become a racing driver through the GT Academy and of course coverage of all the build-up before the final life-changing race itself. The pressure is on.
After intense physical, mental and driver training, the candidates were whisked off to Silverstone for a drive in some single seaters as the judges assessed their abilities on the track – a daunting experience considering they were sat comfortably at home playing Gran Turismo only a few weeks ago. They had never driven a real open wheel racing car before. Suddenly they were now experiencing the real thing.
In our first video, we get a close look at all the on-track action as they gain considerable speed on the giant oval track. Alan also has an insightful chat with Jann Mardenborough, the 2011 GT Academy winner who went on to finish third in the Dubai 24 Hour race that year, who reflects on his experience as a canidate two years ago and the transition to his new role as a mentor for the aspiring young drivers in this year's GT Academy.
In part two, it was the journalist's turn to experience what the candidates went through with a rare opportunity to race round Silverstone in a fleet of Nissan 370Z's, allowing them to unleash their competitive streaks.
Next up Alan and another fellow journalist go for a spin in the official Nismo simulator. As it turns out, it's not built in-mind for giants like Alan.
Part four explores the build up to race day, practice sessions, qualifying and perfecting starts – all key to victory as we build up to the main event:
Finally, we document the final, life-changing GT Academy 2013 International race. Tensions mount as the raceday commences where the winner will finally be decided.