Mixed Fortunes for GT Academy Graduates

April 2nd, 2012 by Famine

After relatively successful pre-race preparations for the GT Academy graduates, their relative fortunes took a turn for the worse come race day.

Bryan Heitkotter’s weekend ended in much the same way as Jordan Tresson‘s did two weeks previously, without him even getting a racing lap in. The Doran Racing 370Z was taken out in a first corner accident with BJ Zacharias driving. In Bryan’s own words, “no way to start a racing season”.

Lucas Ordoñez’s race itself went much better, with the Greaves team finishing 4th overall from a 3rd place start. The team were running at the head of the field even into the fifth hour of the race, but the car sustained some bodywork damage after a trip over the kerbs while challenging for second place after pit stops. To compound this the team were given an incredibly harsh two minute stop-go penalty just half an hour from the end for a pitlane infringement.

Meanwhile GTPlanet’s own “tame racing driver”, Christopher Zoechling (Christhedude) was racing in the 4 hour Westfalenfahrt VLN race at the Nürburgring, finishing 16th overall and 4th in class. He also spotted a very familiar face in attendance before his qualifying run…

The next GT Academy driver in action will be Jann Mardenborough at Monza in two weeks time – and we wish him better luck!

Images courtesy of europeanlemansseries.com and Christhedude.

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  1. A Real Pro Driver

    Sorry for some missing words in my last post. Typing on and ipad while on a bumpy plane ride can be a challenge.

    Keep racing and keep your dreams alive. We hope to see you at the track!

    ARPD

    • dsgerbc

      Lol. More of the ‘old fart’ type non-sense preaching that everything should be done the old-fashioned way. Happens in every profession when there’s drop in the cost of entry and the incumbents usually bitch and moan about it just as much. There’s experience and there’s natural ability/instincts/reaction time/quickness of thought etc. With $50 entry cost much larger proportion of the general population can be tested on a few of the natural characteristics that make-up a great racecar driver, so the potential to pick someone with more natural potential is higher compared to the “tranditional” process. And experience is just that – experience, these guys will get it. It’s not your money that is on the line. If you feel unsafe – get together with your fellow Pros and lobby your team/series owners/organizers for better safety standards.

      So, in general, ARPD’s reaction is understandable, his job security is threatened and he’s acting in a way that he thinks will protect it a hair longer.

    • A Real Pro Driver

      In regards to dsgerbc. You have no clue as to who I am or my age. I bring this community insight you do not have access to. What I say is fact and not conjecture.

      You have no clue as to what the owners want or what sponsors need. If you think it’s an unproven kid with a $500 racing wheel or some unemployed 20-30 something living in his mom’s basemet you are wrong. Natural ability or not Nissan, PD and you are the only ones that do not see this as a novilty.

      New safety standards do not and will never protect against a dirver that does not know how to react to unexpected and dangerous circumstances.

      If you are so cretan this is the wave of the future and every driver, engeneer and owner in every series is wrong, prove it.

      If you can roll up to any owner and tell him that you are “really good at GT5″ and he hires you.; I will out myself on ESPN and quit.

      Choose to take my advice or not, this won’t change how things are done. When Nissan and PD eventually run out of funds and intrerest for this promotional stunt you will be left with a $60 game and little else.

      Cheers dsgerbc, enjoy the view from you parents basement.

      ARPD

    • dsgerbc

      Lol, more annoyed childish ramblings. Competitive driving is job, just like any other. Your behavior is typical of a number of occupations that experienced a change in entry costs. Keep on rambling, nothing new too see, happens every time. It’s always about how outsiders don’t get it and so on, seen it many times, just with different job titles.

      Life is unfair, grow up and deal with it.

    • magsolid

      Hey Pro Driver, if your smart enough to do some research. There are actually some dude in the GT Academy that actually drove a Go-Kart and done poorly compare to the others who have never driven a Go-Kart before. From what i read about what you said, i can barely believe that your pro racer at all. You know nothing about GT Academy and the winner. So why not shut up about it?

    • magsolid

      To Pro Driver. Doing karting does not help you become a good GT car driver (GT car = BIG CAR, in case you know nothing about motosport). In fact it does help you become a better kart racer. Why? because they’re both handle differently.
      Being a doctor and a motorsport racer a too completely different thing you need to learn this.
      Being good at Gran Turismo requires years of practice, so it’s not like that in GT Academy they picking a random gamer to become a race driver. You should really change your profile name to stop embarrassed yourself.

    • magsolid

      @ A Real Pro Driver. Stop being stupid and lying to everyone that you’re a Pro driver cause you never will be one, because you can’t even pay any attention to something what you just trash talk to. You call those GT winner a rookie just because you will pee on your pants if you ever were to face those good racer one on one. If you were a Pro driver in which damn series is you’re made up highly respected team on? Probably a loser drivers series.

  2. Maddens Raiders

    Wow… I’m starting to taste a lot of tears in this thread.

    I know GTAc drivers get the stink eye from vets & other pilots sometimes, who have mostly their teeth the old fashioned way – that’s to be expected to a degree – it’s just human nature.

    However, for some of you guys to come in here and trash talk & bash drivers who weren’t able to race through no fault of their own shows a complete lack of disrespect for the drivers, a lack of actually reading the article & giving in to your own predilections, as well as disrespect for what Kaz & PD have been able to put together & offer gamers/drivers the world over.

    I totally totally understand & welcome honest critiques and even the propensity to dislike a driver for their particular style or behaviour off the track but c’mon.. some of you are just clearly jealous that this isn’t you or you hate GT altogether. Good grief, come off it now.

  3. NewCadillac

    I wish the traction control setups were more realistic. The new GTR’s, Mclaren MP4, ZR1/Z06, and etc have advanced PTM systems which don’t translate into the game well. It annoys me when host turn everything off and the set the room up to benefit awd
    cars with autos and driving lines, while us rwd guys use manuals with the rear downforced turned up to keep us sticking to the road. The game should be more balanced.

  4. DragonGT83

    better luck next time. I find it funny how all the walls fall down when a driver has a bad race and anybody will find anything bad to say about them. not just the GT acadamy guys, but it happens to many veterans too. So what they had a bad race, doesn’t mean they don’t belong there.

  5. TeamCZRRacing

    Anyone else notice that the number on the side of the 370Z in the pic looks exactly like Tony Stewart’s NASCAR number?

    • DragonGT83

      the color is different, but same font yes.

  6. tpark103

    That’s stinks for Bryon, that’s great for Lucas and his team, as far as Chris, some guys now how to have fun on there weekends…

    • Christhedude

      lol

    • A Real Pro Driver

      For those of you still clamorong about my last post please read on.

      Respect is not assumed, it is earned. To be successful at any level of racing you NEED respect.

      Respect will never be earned by buying a $60 game and winning a contest. Period.

      There is a reason for “going through the ranks”. I cannot tell you how hard it is going from a cart to your first open wheel ride and then to and even bigger more powerful vehical. The learning curve is bigger than you can imagine.

      It’s like wanting to become a doctor on Monday, winning a contest to become a doctor on Wednesday and then being expected to perform surgery on Friday.

      Where is the needed education and experiance? This is the same thing as GT Academy.

      EVERY driver, owner and engineer is very uneasy around these guys. No one wants to be a part of their learning curve. No one wants to lose a million dollar car, sponsorship, ride or even hurt or killed because they got caught up in their “mistake”.

      If Nissan and PD want to be respected beyond the gaming world for this, they will need to start these guys in a lower series or create their. This will give these “talented” novice drivers a fighting chance to evolve.

      Those of you out there that think that this is unfair havent been behind the wheel of a 700hp-900hp vehical at over 200mph. This is is life and death, pride, money and fame for everyone envolved.

      Racing by nature is dangerous and costly and It will never be accessive to everyone. If you are lucky enough to gain a seat would’t you want the guy next to you to be competent and skillful?

      How would you feel if someone without any experiance off the street was made your peer at work? To make this worse you personally know 20 other guys that are more deserving and qualified to fill the position.

      Now you have an idea of where we are coming from and why. This is not a joke or a game for us. We earn our living doing this.

      As I stated before, if you want to race, get to the track!

      If you don’t have the money to start on your own, work for a team at any level you can and let your intentions be known. Too many drivers to list have started
      this way.

      I leave you with this thought.

      What would you tell my wife and child if I were to be killed at the next race because of one of their rookie mistakes?

    • lxl ICEMAN 1894

      @A Real Pro Driver I would have to agree with you in all your points. I’m not a pro driver or GT buff but as a “blu collar” professional I know how teams work. In my profession you are considered dangerous even after basic required training that lasts 6 months. Easily 3 full years of work are needed before the skills and temperament are adequate to continue in my career.
      Most people do not quit until two years in as they still think they know what they’re doing,
      For my safety and the safety of my brothers we don’t let anyone “inside” until they “get it” without being told. Surrounding a video gamer with Type A’s will sometimes work but seldom will the respect be valued or reciprocated.

  7. xDarkDriverx

    I think Kaz likes the Nürburgring.

  8. carfanatic45

    That’s unfortunate! It’s too bad they crashed but that’s a factor of racing. Better luck next time.

  9. Blessorship

    Looks like Max is sporting a Wonderland 1 or Wonderland 2 helmet. Pretty cool.

    P.S. Sorry about your luck guys… I’m confident things will turn for the better as the year goes on… Even though 4th overall isn’t that bad.

  10. jedisteampunk

    PD should learn from this. That’s how to model real damage.

    • ”That’s how to model damage” dude, the codes behind the damage are much harder to do than that. Real life damage has nothing to do with calcutating damage on a game. It’s not like they don’t know how real damage looks, it’s just hard to code. And it also needs a lot of processing power.

    • TokoTurismo

      1+ Uppmas. That’s why I perfer “no damage” in any GT series. But then people are gonna find the idea to complain GT’s damage is “unrealistic”… -_-

    • counter345

      Kaz has stated that he doesn’t want that much extensive damage in the game.

    • Quakebass

      The only additions in terms of damage that I’d like to see are more dislodgeable parts (like bumpers and hoods) on more cars, cracked/shattered windows, more aero changes when damage occurs on a spoiler or other major aero part, (which i understand would be difficult) smaller paint and more minor paint scratches (like key-scrape size), and then minor road rash/damage that occurs on most cars after long use. Maybe for an addition to mechanical damage have wheels be able to come off when the damage is set to “heavy”, and may or may not be able to be replaced in the pits dependent on damage. If PD is to really re-work the damage model (and some physics), allow more crumpling of the car and better “bounce offs” from walls when the occur. Probably allow the car to tip over a little more easily; I don’t see a lot of car tilt, or at least don’t feel it much in the corners; people can get into nasty roll-over accidents just from hitting a small bump in the corners or corner stones and grass… Crashes don’t happen often, but when they do, wouldn’t you want them to look spectacular? Especially in endurance races with heavy mechanical damage; it would be cool if you or the AI could get totaled, and then have to dodge debris on the track and worry about tire punctures and such… Just my two cents…

  11. PR1VATEJ0KER

    These guys are pursuing their dream, by whatever means necessary.

    It’s not up to you.

    Instead of figuring out why someone else doesn’t deserve something, concentrate on excelling yourself.
    Put yourself up, but don’t put others down.

  12. Dekropttiv and A Real Pro Driver are correct. Whilst the GT Academy drivers are relitively talented, they are still in essence gentlemen drivers. Without the backing of nissan they would not be on the teams lists for drivers. One of the biggest problems with the program is that they are just doing the minimum amount of races (Hopefully they have also done some work as a marshall aswell ) to get the required liscence to compete in lmp2 or the various gt classes that nissan put them in. They really need to do a couple of seasons in either national or pan-european racing as there racing skills are quiet lacking (although the speed over one lap is there).

    • R1600Turbo

      Why start small when you’ve proved that you can run with the big boys?

    • so you can learn things like setup, development and develop your racers instinct. For example Tresson’s car setup skills are quite lacking according to my source in the paddock .

    • R1600Turbo

      You learn as you go. What matters is he can drive the car. He proved it last year, and I fully expect him to do so this year. Season has just started. We can have this discussion when it’s over, but everything that each of them has done so far proves that they deserve every bit of the success they achieve. It’s only going to get better from here.

    • Flaco13

      Yep, is like I said before… Power is nothing without control just like experience is nothing without talent… And some of the GT Academy winners got a lot of talent… while theres a lot of pro drivers out there been doing it for many years but the lack of talent keeps em out of success… talent u either got or you don’t, you can’t gain it through practice and lessons, cuz that is called: experience!

  13. Dekropttiv

    I respect these drivers, and it’s cool that GT5 gives gamers a chance, but I agree. This is a waste of money. GT5 is a great console simulator, but nothing, not even iRacing or rFactor, will ever compare to driving the real thing. As…uh…”A Real Pro Driver” said, the best way to learn is to grab a kart and start from there.

    On the side note, is there really no info on new DLC coming out? GT5 is really losing its luster. Some new tracks would be nice. Or some good new seasonal events. I feel the online community has been dead lately.

    Hopefully it’ll be a good pack this time around.

    • TokoTurismo

      That’s GT should stay as a game. It’s cool to be real but, I believe GT should stay as a game.
      Btw. I apologize if I miss this news.

    • Flaco13

      Dekro… ok, a kid starting from scratch in a kart, sounds like the regular carrier start for a race driver… but 1. does a 5 year old really want to do this all day? 2. to do this you need money, lots of it. If the kids parents aint wealthy, no race carrier for lil Jimmy…3. Even if Jimmy Dad was rich, do we know if Jimmy really got talent??? experience means a lot no doubt, but wut is it without talent? That’ s y I think GT Academy a good thing.

    • R1600Turbo

      So much disrespect…

    • eran0004

      So, tell me more about how it’s a waste of money. Clearly they are winning races, so if that’s a waste of money then isn’t all motorsports a waste of money?

      Your side note has nothing to do with these news, it’s not like PD is thinking “hm… should we release some DLC, or should we let NISSAN take their GT academy winners to yet another race? Because if we let them race, then we can’t go to work.”

    • magsolid

      Karting only helps you learn with karting not the car that those GT winner drove. And “A Real Pro Driver” in reality is “A Fake Pro Driver” he is actually a kid who bash on something he never knows about.

  14. A Real Pro Driver

    I am a full time driver for a highly respected team. What I am about to say will probably cause a stir.

    The reality is that you can’t go from playing a video game 24/7 to being a serious pro driver. There is more to racing than mashing the gas and turning the wheel left and right.

    Every owner, engineer and driver I have spoken with agree with this. None of the owners
    in our series will ever give a seat to someone who says “I’m an online champ”. These guys want to see real experiance behind the wheel.

    There are millions of dollars on the line with each seat. A lot of careers and reputations are on the line and hinge on the ability of the guy behind the wheel.

    If it were not fot Nissan and PD wanting to sell more units these guys would have NEVER seen any seat time. Nissan and PD have made a joke of the hard work, time, money and effort of real drivers, owners and teams.

    If you want to be taken seriously and have a real chance, you may want to follow our advice.

    Grab a kart and do your time behind a real wheel and work your way through the ranks and a few series. You will learn more than a video game in a controlled enviroment will ever teach you.

    We hope to see you at the track.

    • montecarlo87

      I’m glad someone understands the reality. Some people around here seem to be way to sensitive, possibly living vicariously through the GT academy winners. They don’t understand the years it takes to get good. I feel they will become good drivers with the right people showing them all the tricks it takes, but to be repetitive it takes time.

    • TokoTurismo

      I agree A Real Pro Driver. GT should stay in the, “game side” from reality. It can still be a sim, but stay in the game. For me. That’s how I want GT to be, imo.

    • Flaco13

      ‘these guys would have never seen any seat time’ sure not, there parents arent rich!

    • R1600Turbo

      OK Mr “Pro Driver”, how do you explain Lucas Ordonez’s success? Or how about the GT4 Championship that Jordan Tresson helped bring home last year for RJN? Podium at the 24 hrs of Dubai? Total fluke, eh? Maybe you can say that to Sean Johnston who didn’t even win the contest but is out there fighting for the win in his first season of IMSA GT3 Cup cars?

      Listen, you’re just jealous that these guys got into racing the way they did and you had to fight your way into it from the bottom. Every one of these guys have talent, and they weren’t just “sitting around all day playing games 24/7″. Most of them have some form of real racing experience, including Bryan who is a winning SCCA Solo autocrosser. He’s no newbie behind the wheel.

      What is it with people opening their mouths these days without knowing their facts first? It just makes you look ignorant.

    • eran0004

      Well, “real pro driver”, what do you say about this:

      Spa 24 hour – first in class
      Le Mans 24 hours – second in class
      Dubai 24 hours – third in class
      Intercontinental Le Mans Cup LMP2 – championship winners

      What did you and your “highly respected team” achieve? My guess is that you finished just behind one of the Nissan teams in one of those races and that made you a bitter man/woman.

    • The win at the Spa24 hours was mainly down to the car being quite a bit better than the other 3 cars in the class. Also the talents of Ward and Buncombe ment that all Tresson had to do was to keep the car on the black stuff.

      With le mans last year, Ordoñez was about 3 to 4 s off the pace of Ayari, although he did put in a decent effort. Same with the ILMC, they were basically the first full ILMC team to finish but pretty much never the first LMP2 team to finish.

    • dsgerbc

      “If it were not fot Nissan and PD wanting to sell more units these guys would have NEVER seen any seat time. Nissan and PD have made a joke of the hard work, time, money and effort of real drivers, owners and teams.”

      Meh, most racing in itself is a money-losing endeavor, and most teams are at the mercy of sponsors/advertisers who are in it just to sell more whatever crap they sell. And those sponsors choose drivers to back not solely based on talent/experience. Basically this sounds like a typical bitching/whining of a driver that lost out to someone with better sponsorship. That’s life, deal with it.

    • @A Real Pro Driver
      If you had done a little research into GT Academy and their method of selecting their drivers, you would realise that they are not “Online champs” nor were they “24/7” gamers. The drivers that have been selected to drive for GT Academy were in fact selected ahead of much faster GT drivers who are more in line to your view of being 24/7 gamers. In short, the fastest GT drivers in the game have never been selected to be a GT Academy driver. Being good in a driving game was/is just the entry point, after that more important attributes then came into play to determine who would be selected. I’m sorry, but your virtual view of these drivers is so far off reality.

    • Tomeggyilkos

      u dont sound like a real pro driver more like a wannabe ur best sentence was the “grab a kart” one grab a kart at age 20+? :)
      kart is for kids to learn the basic and btw games can help u like i week ago i read the FBI yes the FBI licensed the Unreal Engine 3 from Epic Games what u think for what to play games? go read after it

      and if u race or if u ever raced before tell us where it was prove who u r cuz ur jsut another name here…

      and btw if they r so weak u should be happy cuz u wont be the last

  15. freshseth83

    Kaz was driving the #145 Lexus IS-F car in SP8 class.

  16. montecarlo87

    I honestly can’t say I’m surprised, after all going from video game to reality takes time to mesh into a real talent. Just about every big time race driver would have already had years and years of experience long before they ever hit the plateau the GT academy guys have is such a short time.

    Give them a few years and things will get better for them.

    • R1600Turbo

      In case you didn’t read the article (cause it sounds like you didn’t) neither of the mentioned incidents were the fault of GT Academy drivers.

    • Maddens Raiders

      ^^ that’s exactly right R1600Turbo. This has nothing to do at all w/ the readiness or lack of talent of GT Academy drivers.

    • Jason_B

      Bryan Heitkotter was collected on the start when someone undershot turn 1, landed on the hood of the car next to them, and took at at least 4 cars at the start. Not his doing, but I heard all about the CTCS event at the airport Sunday morning. 70+ cars entered between the 2 classes and 53 MINUTES of yellow from the drop of the green. But Barber is also very tight and a lot of the drivers should be doing SCCA club events and learning instead of giving us this kind of entertainment. At ;east at Miami in a month they’ll have a workable track.

    • R1600Turbo

      @ Jason – Bryan was not in the car when that happened. BJ Zacharias was in the car at the start of the race, as the first paragraph in the article states. I also talk to Bryan on a weekly basis, and got the story before anyone here knew.

    • montecarlo87

      It’s still a valid point. They need experience dropping into something that most spend years perfecting. Maybe they could have avoided said incidents had they the experience needed to do so which was my point to begin with R1600. Don’t be so defensive to the truth.

    • 88FoxBodyFan

      It’s not a valid point in this respect, because as R1600 has told you TWICE, the GT Academy guys WEREN’T DRIVING THE CARS DURING THE INCIDENTS! It’s hard to avoid an incidents, or hell, even have an incident if you are not driving the car. Maybe next time you should try actually reading the article instead of blindly talking trash about people.

    • R1600Turbo

      ^^^ Thank you! People these days, all about negativity and nothing else…

    • LOL @ montecarlo87
      Has the penny dropped yet?

  17. Tvensky

    just bad luck.. as we all now part of the racing.. hope the best for them in the future!

    • gogatrs

      I’m not saying it WAS their fault.
      But the article is being written by one of their #1 fans. Therefore there’s a LITTLE bit of bias in there.

    • R1600Turbo

      The Doran 370Z was taken out by a Mustang from mid-pack that started the whole incident. Not their fault.

  18. I’m assuming the Amuse S2000 GT1 Turbo won that 4 Hour race, as usual.

  19. Amac500

    I’m telling ya, with how close Nissian and PD are, we could get current Nissian Le Mans car, current most likely being 2011. Signatech Oreca Nissian LMP2 car and the Zytek Nissian LMP2 car. I don’t remember if Nissian powers an LMP1 car, does anybody know? But if we got those, maybe FOR FREE, I would be filled with joy :). Or when they release DLC packs they could let us choose 1 thing from it for free or something, and even if we can’t race them it would be cool to race against them in the game, tempt me to get them ;)

    • R1600Turbo

      *Nissan

    • Amac500

      Lol I always do misspell that to for some reason, thank ya mate. 2011 Oreca Matmut Nissan lmp2 car as well.

    • Amac500

      And those cars being said, there is nothing on Earth I want more then a premium Audi R18, be it the TDI, the Ultra, or the E-tron Quattro. If I got that for free I would never ask for anything else in GT5, if I payed I would still be cool, but for free I’m eternally grateful.

  20. Thats shame, I’m sure they’ll do better next time around! Nice to see them all doing well though. And thats cool to see Kaz at the Ring, now get on Twitter :p

  21. PR1VATEJ0KER

    man that sucks for brian

  22. Maddens Raiders

    GT5 is just the coolest damn game to grace a console I’ve ever seen & I’ve been gaming since Atari. Drivers that were formerly gamers / Producer / all in one place and yet even more gamers together here @ GTPlanet to discuss? What else does this?

    GT5 #1

    • TomBrady

      Totally agreed. GT5 is amazing overall. It’s really sad that so many people can only focus on it’s very few shortcomings and ignore the many things it does so well.

      I’d even go as far to say it’s the best sim or game to date even though it’s not realistic. When you look at the full package, I have a hard time thinking anything else is better, even though like I said, it’s not quite up to the realism of netkar pro, it’s close enough where I think it can make up for it in other areas.

      GT5=The king of virtual racing

    • TomBrady

      *I’d even go as far to say it’s the best sim or game to date even though it’s not THE MOST realistic

      Sorry, I really had to correct that typo, GT5 is most definitely realistic, just not the absolute most realistic sim you can get

    • R1600Turbo

      Best console sim, sure. There are PC games that are better.

    • Maddens Raiders

      Thanks guys – yeah I’m talking strictly console based sims here & as far as I can see this one towers over the comp in *so many different* ways. It’s simply fantastic. Ok time to go get in some online races.

  23. TheKitten

    And i have a GUT FEELING THE UPDATE GONNA BE AMAZING

  24. TheKitten

    Wow ok unexpected

  25. Kaz was there!!! No update till next week or half month i believe. Back into the news…poor guys it must be really sad for not even make a lap or get in to the car itself to race. Better luck next time!

  26. NewCadillac

    Can’t wait for the new update, but hope they release DLC too. Good luck Jann at Monza.


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