My Journey: 2013 US GT Academy Champion

Discussion in 'GT Academy' started by GumballCGT, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. GumballCGT

    GumballCGT Premium

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    There are hopes of this thread staying constantly updated but we shall see haha. Feel free to post questions, concerns, and any other shenanigans you feel necessary. This is the short version so far of what I'm getting at. I'm practically writing a novel that's much more in depth on how it's been lately. Enough rambling on my end. Here it goes!

    First Post (Short Story)
    Alright everyone, so for the last two months after winning GT Academy I've been living in the UK training with the three other 2013 winners from their respective regions. Silverstone was our base for the time we were there. We've all been home for about two weeks now.

    While at Silverstone we worked on simulator training, fitness, and my favorite part of course, driving! Almost every weekend we had a race because we needed to get our 12 signatures to get our international race license before our two months was up. So it was a time crunch and essential to get the signatures due to the lack of racing going into winter. And due to the limited amount of races we had to get a signature for each race otherwise, no license. There was good and bad for all of us but in the end we all got our 12 signatures and our international race licenses! What a relief that was.

    We are supposed to be racing our first international race in January at the 24 Hours of Dubai that I'm very excited for which is why we needed those signatures. We will be piloting a Nissan 370z GT4 car which we got to drive at a couple two hour races during our time in the UK. I'm looking forward of what's to come in our first big race!

    To end my time there, on the last day in the UK I was fortunate enough to get a shakedown test in a Nissan GTR GT3 which was hands down the best thing I've ever driven! This was to get us used to used to the car as we are supposed to be racing a season of GT3 next year which I can't wait for! Driving the GT3 GTR was such a tease to now have to wait till I can get in one again. It's addicting!

    As for now I've just been hanging out at home for the last couple weeks and am looking forward to Christmas and my time with friends and family. I look forward to keeping you all updated on what's going on and my progress. I'm not 100% what's in store for next year but I know it will be epic to say the least.

    Thanks for reading!

    - Nick McMillen
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
  2. Mini Stiggy

    Mini Stiggy Premium

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    Huge congrats, and good luck at Dubai! I'll definitely be rooting for you:)
     
  3. Rallywagon

    Rallywagon Premium

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    We are all exited for you! Good job and good luck!
     
  4. Handlebar

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    Good luck!

    How much 'time off' do you get on an average day, or a busy one?

    Any free time to explore locally or is it track / train / sleep?
     
  5. OutlawQuadrnt

    OutlawQuadrnt

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    Go get 'em! :tup:

    Off the top of my head, I'm curious about two things:

    1. After what you've gone through since the end of GTA, what's the area where you believe you've improved on the most (overall speed, braking, car control, etc)?

    2. What would you say was the most important thing you did before GTA that aided you throughout the competition?
     
  6. zer05ive

    zer05ive Premium

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    Great idea, Nick! As far as I know, you're the first U.S. GT Academy champion that's active on GTPlanet, so hopefully we'll be able to get inside scoop and insights that we haven't been able to get before (from a GT Academy champ).

    I'm so proud of how far you've come, and so excited for the journey that awaits you! Congrats and good luck!! :cheers:
     
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  7. Oshawa-Joe

    Oshawa-Joe

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    Congratulations again Nick and best of luck. I will definitely be following your career. Now please post some pictures.
     
  8. kcheeb

    kcheeb Premium

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    Hey Nick, congrats! Looking forward to hearing and seeing more about your career :tup:

    Question, what would it take to get a S.N.A.I.L. sticker on the side of your car :lol:
     
    Ittybitty Stigy likes this.
  9. GumballCGT

    GumballCGT Premium

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    Thanks everyone! Pictures tomorrow I promise!

    It really depends some days we would have something for an hour or two in the morning or afternoon like going to the gym. Other days it would be a get up at 6, go to the track, leave at 5 or 6pm and be back home an hour or two later. We would venture out some times and check out the sites but honestly we stayed home more than we probably should've. Time off was nice when we had it some times lol.

    1. Of course everything. But for me it's been a lot more of finding that limit in a car. I drive a car now and can find that limit sooner and know where it's at. Plus just overall confidence in driving a car quickly has gone up immensely. Where as I used to think I was at the limit it was actually me driving improperly and thinking if the car acts up it's the limit when it's not. Another thing was really just slowing down to go fast. Everyone thinks "I need to brake later and get on the throttle sooner" but I've learned more that I can brake 10-20 feet before the next guy, carry more speed through a corner because the car is settled and I'm telling it what to do, therefore can get on the throttle sooner or even sometimes later and be quicker just due to overall speed.

    2. Most important thing I did was go out and get some seat time! Seat time will benefit you more than anything. Go out and do auto x, track days, drift, rally, karting, etc. It doesn't matter. Get in something with wheels and a motor and drive the hell out of it and learn. My Dad has been throwing me in things and having me drive them since before I can remember. By the time I was 16 I had more "experience" seat time than a lot of people. I used to mob Yamaha Rhino's around all the time just driving the crap out of them, got to drive my Dad's off road racetruck when he had one, rallied around in the snow, karted. I had done a track day and autocross before but it was when I was 18. For me I did a track day and an autocross right before I went to Silverstone just to squeeze in some seat time and drive appropriately as fast as I could. I honestly didn't think I had enough seat time. If I could've afforded it I would've done two or three track days in the few weeks I had to prepare. I just got lucky I was able to learn so quickly while I was there. But honestly and most people will oversee this I think, but I've been told so many times that guys who come from motocross like myself tend to do very well on the road at speed for some reason. I think it's partially due to the instinct you have of feeling traction and how something is going to react. This helped me a ton in the rally because you read the dirt for traction and feel your way around. Plus dirt is just home to me cause it's what I grew up on haha. It just comes automatic to me where as most people have to really think about it. At least that's my opinion. But overall, get out and DRIVE!!!

    Haha I've got the email to the man you need to talk to if you want it. Might cost ya though since I'm not in charge of it all :p
     
    JogoAsobi, Postmanpeteuk and kcheeb like this.
  10. Tao Vantu

    Tao Vantu

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    Congratulations Nick! All the best on your new career! Good luck in Dubai.
     
  11. tezgm99

    tezgm99

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    Much more ambitious than when I asked about having one on the helmet, kcheeb :lol:
     
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  12. jobyone

    jobyone Premium

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    Great updates! I hope yo keep them coming as it would be great to share the ups and downs over the coming year with you. Best of luck!
     
  13. perdy450

    perdy450

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    Good luck and well done! Sorry to hear you have to be in the UK and experience our weather ;)
     
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  14. GT Motion

    GT Motion

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    You barely started the story and I am already jealous! Enjoy it man!
     
  15. soundtiger95

    soundtiger95

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    Congrats Nick! Look forward to following your career :tup:
     
  16. AJKVail

    AJKVail

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    Congratulations Nick!:cheers: What a class act you showed! I'm very lucky to have had the honor to be on the track with you in SNAIL. Looking forward to following your career!
     
  17. GumballCGT

    GumballCGT Premium

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    Here was a video of a practice session we had during our driver development program. Me driving of course! lol. Be sure to catch the cool down lap to see the German winner throw a drift in front of us in Village Corner.

    Oh, can't post pics yet because they are doing maintenance on my usual photo site. Sorry for the delay! Hope you enjoy the video in the meantime.

     
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  18. GumballCGT

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  19. Louie_Schumii

    Louie_Schumii

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    So "Lee Cunningham" was your alias until the TV Show finished airing? :p

    Congrats Nick. Not too many people can be fortunate enough to be in your position so make the most of it!
     
  20. Rich S

    Rich S

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    Very cool, keep us posted. Is the GTR GT3 quite a bit different in real life compared to GT6?
     
  21. Dr_Watson

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    Good stuff, keep it coming. Now I'm going to have to wipe the drool off my screen from the P1 shot. :lol:
     
  22. carracerptp

    carracerptp

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    Congrats :tup:
     
  23. GumballCGT

    GumballCGT Premium

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    Lee Cunningham was indeed my fake name while I was racing there. Hopefully my racing license name gets changed back to Nick McMillen haha.

    The exterior and even the interior are spot on! Kind of cool to see a racecar you've driven in a game. As far as the comparison of game and real life I'd say it feels like the real car has a lot more downforce. You can just flick the wheel and the car goes wherever you tell it too. It has a lot of grip all over especially in the high speed corners. It does have some understeer and chatter at low speed turns though. I feel the game needs to give the GT3 cars more grip. I feel they slide around more than the real car which is odd. But as far as how stiff the car is in real life is realistic to the game. The chassis practically doesn't even move under braking, turning, etc. It' just FLAT.
     
  24. Handlebar

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    As you travel to different courses that are in the game, I am curious about your impressions about the feel of the road surface. Saarthe seems bumpier in GT6 (at least in the career race I did there), and I wonder if the bumps really feel as pronounced in reality? Are there dips or shimmies in track surfaces that are over represented, under represented, omitted or seemingly fabricated?

    Fantasic pics - love them.

    Did you get to go home for the holidays? What sort of a reaction have you received from family, friends, your old job, local news, and so on? Anything fun or surprising that you feel like sharing?
     
    zer05ive and Ittybitty Stigy like this.
  25. Mini Stiggy

    Mini Stiggy Premium

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    You should ask to get a :gtplanet: sticker on your 370 :p
     
  26. Louie_Schumii

    Louie_Schumii

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    I remember Lucas [Ordonez] had a GTP sticker on his helmet during his first couple of years under GT Academy.
     
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  27. GumballCGT

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    As far as what I've driven so far, the tracks in GT6 are pretty accurate. I've found the GT6 tracks sometimes are not actually quite as aggressive on some of the bumps, dips, etc. which I've found surprising. We will see as I go to more tracks.

    I have been home for the last few weeks now just doing basically nothing lol. I've had a huge outpouring of congratulations from everyone. It's been very cool to see. Everyone has been very excited for me and all wish me the best. I've truly enjoyed everyone's support and am forever thankful for it. Surprisingly not much for local media except one newspaper who might want to do an article on my. We shall see though. Anyways, I just hope I can kick some ass and make everyone proud :D
     
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  28. drspeedy

    drspeedy

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    congratulations Nick I'm very happy for you :dunce: I really hope the best career for you :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2013
  29. Dr_Watson

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    After Abu Dhabi you'll have to let us know what *real* draft is in a GT car. ;)
    Merry Christmas mate. Best of luck in 2014. :tup:
     
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  30. Filip_Ovik

    Filip_Ovik

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    Hi Nick! First of all congrats for what you have achieved :)

    I was also at race camp this year but didn't make it the whole way, but I'm still interested to improve my driving. When I drove the 370z I always tried to be as close to the limit as possible (where the tires starts to scream) cause I have always thought that is the fastest way around a corner. I would appreciate if you could tell more about "settle the car" before corner as you have written in the text before (highlighted).