My story: from loss in GT Academy to pro racing

Discussion in 'GT Academy' started by Czempion, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. Czempion

    Czempion

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    Poland
    Hello!

    Maybe someone will recognize my nick "Czempion" from Gran Turismo 5 online time trials, maybe not... :)

    I just wanted to write below my story, also as a GT Academy finalist. As a random guy, like a lot of us from here (I think) I couldn't afford myself for pro racing in Cup cars. But still as a kid, and later teenager I've dreamed, to be a pro racer, despite having not enough money. So I've competed in GT Academy.


    My first attempt was in 2013, when I was 18 years old. GT Academy qualifiers was in June and July, and my 18th birthday was on May, but because of law changes in beginning of the year, my driving license exam was delayed for two months. I've had only one attempt to pass it, and I was in the most difficult city in Poland, to pass (comparing to exam results in whole nation). Luckily, I've passed all exams in one day, at my first attepmt, so I knew I'll get my license in time, to compete in GT Academy. In qualifiers I've passed with 18th place in world, and 1st place in live qualifiers. At national final in Poland, unfortunately I've failed driving test, because of not big enough experience with cars, so I was only 3rd in final and I didn't qualified to European Final in Silverstone.

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    After final I've got depression. I couldn't focus on anything. After some time, I said to myself that I can't give up - and I've decided to prepare better for GT Academy 2014. I've bought my first car for time attack events. I've searched for something cheap to repair and modify, and also unstable and difficult to control, to learn as most as I can. I decided to buy... Fiat Cinquecento Sporting with 54HP (this car was on GT2). Why I've choose this ugly car? Totally unbalanced car with very low horsepower is very difficult to handle if you are searching for thousands of seconds - even a little mistake will make a huge gap on time.

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    I've qualified into GT Academy 2014 national final without any problems. But if I've had more experience as a person and driver, this year I didn't had any luck to win my ticket. During gaming challenge when judges have chosen Silverstone International Circuit, where you have to cut the track by grass (and everyone who , I've missed cutting point by 10cm's and game gave me penalty. With penalty I've lost a lot of points on this. Also at driving challenge, if I could yet properly handle a car, at finish I stopped 0,5s too late and I've missed finish line for stop-finish (line must was between two axles of the car). On this, I've also lost a lot of points, so I've finished only at 4th place in Poland. S^$%t happens.


    At 2015 I said to myself, this attempt in GT Academy will be my last one. I've met one of pro racing drivers, who lives near me, and we've started our cooperation. I was his younger engineer for Volkswagen Golf Cup 2015, and also simulator and FWD coach, because at this time, he had never drove with FWD car in pro racing, earlier only RWD cars like BMW E36, M3, M3 GTR, and he wanted my support in preparations. I've had also opportunity to practice with his cars on real racing circuits, and this was big experience. My goal was Yas Marina and NISMO seat.

    All my dreams were blown, where I've read all earlier national finalists from Europe were banned, to compete in 2015. I was angry, but I've decided to start my career on my own. I've worked in 2015, just after school-ending exams as a courier in Germany, to earn some money for my beginning.

    At 2016 I've made international FIA racing license, and my debut in racing (Polish "Hour Race" Championship) was at May 2015, one week before my 21st birthday. At my first race in BMW E36 318is, I've achieved podium in class, and later I've continued my luck with another podiums.

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    That was the preludium of my story. From this moment, at next week I will compete in final race of 2016 season, and I still have a chance to get Polish Champion title in my debut season in pro racing. Thanks to my stubbornness and some way luck - few days ago I was invited by Audi to TT Cup 2017 scouting tests for young talents. I will fight for Audi support and possibility to compete in TT Cup, so keep fingers crossed for me!

    I just wanted to share my story to show it's still possible to start your career, even if you also failed in GT Academy :) I am not sure if I can share here link to my website, so I'll try to update this thread sometimes - of course if you're interested!

    Best regards!

    Damian
     
  2. Louie_Schumii

    Louie_Schumii

    Messages:
    1,406
    Location:
    Philippines
    Flick your website and social media details up mate. Always nice to have a look at what everyone else who's been involved with GT Academy is up to :tup:.
     
  3. Czempion

    Czempion

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    Poland
    Thank you very much! In my description I pasted a link to my FB site :) maybe on near future I'll work on normal "www" website :)

    Here I share my on-board from last race in Tor Poznań. At next Saturday I've got final race in this season, maybe I'll made it to the top. I'll do my best with my team! :)

     
  4. Czempion

    Czempion

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    Poland
    Hello everyone :)

    There was a long time since I've wrote here last time. So I thought that it'll be nice to renew my thread, because few nice things has already happened :)


    #1 Audi TT Cup Scouting Tests

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    After season 2016 I was nominated to TT Cup 2017 Scouting tests in Gross Doelln. There was 12 competitors (including me), all of them were from GER/AUS/CHE, and I was only Pole. Half of the competitors were driving in ADAC Formula Masters (F4), some other in another racing cars, some in pro karting (Europe/World level) and there were only two guys from "low-budget" series, including me :p At this day, we've had four challenges: Time Attack with TTS, Racing with instructor behind us in TTS, Trailbraking-Drift challenge with R8 V10 and Interview in English.

    a) Time Attack in TTS: All competitors had a challenge to drive three laps with good pace and flow in stock TTS with road tyres. The ESC system was turned on, so this car had horribly tendention to understeer and to cut-off throttle after a little slip (powerslide was impossible). It was so hard to feel comfortable with these electronics, because I didn't knew when it will activates itself. Even S-Tronic gearbox have a ridiculous lag and it was downshifting the gears by itself. The instructor said to me I was going "over the limit", and he wasn't satisfied. Probably he didn't liked me. Instructor said that I've had one of the fastest lap times, but he wanted to watch more smooth driving, not hotlapping.

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    b) Racing: this was the same competition like "Time Attack", but without time counting, and the instructor was driving behind us in another TTS. He didn't chased us, he just watched our line, speed, style, flow, everything.... My instructor was Markus Winkelhock - former F1 test/reserve driver and GT1 world champion, actually Audi driver. He also said that I was driving "over the limit", but he was very excited about my skills, speed in corners. I've also complained about electronics and gearbox in TTS, but I was more satisfied from myself after this challenge.

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    c) Trailbraking-Drift: We've had R8 V10 in this challenge. In the 100% dry area we had a classic "C-corner" with apex in the middle. Our task was to accelerate in the corner up to ~70-80km/h and do trailbraking before the apex. With the dry area, the result of that was oversteering and our extra task was to counter steer and drift as smooth as it is possible. Our instructor at this place was Marco Werner - 3-time Le Mans 24h winner with Audi. I don't know why and how, but Mr Marco said that I was the best from all competitors at this challenge. I was very happy, because I've never had opportunity before, to drive with any supercar or as powerful car as R8 V10. When I wanted to take Impreza STi from my friend to practice, there was no place to practice in my area :/ So, my only option to practice with R8 was to use R8 in Assetto Corsa :)

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    d) Interview: this was a simple talk with TT Cup Manager, Mr Phillip. The main topic during the interview was... money and sponsorship for TT Cup. No one could dream for even little support from Audi. I've told my sponsorship plan if I would be nominated to next stage, but he probably wasn't satisfied with that. Unfortunately I don't have 150k EUR in my pocket :/

    Unfortunately I was excluded from next testing in TT Cup. But this wasn't sad for me. I was very glad, because I've had a opportunity to check my skills in the same cars with guys from Europe, and if guys like Winkelhock or Werner says that I'm good, this must means something :D

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    Later I'll write another part of my 2016-2017 story ;) Maybe I don't wrote it earlier, but I can say that I'll compete again in Polish Racing Championship in my 318is to fight for Champion title. The learning season was over, time to win something! Soon I'll write about my new work on the race tracks and work as a... test driver! :)

    Don't forget to check my page! -> https://www.facebook.com/lempartracing

    Happy Easter to everyone! :)
     
  5. Sick Cylinder

    Sick Cylinder Premium

    Messages:
    5,280
    Very inspiring posts @Czempion - keep up the hard work and I am sure you can succeed!
     
  6. Wools

    Wools

    Messages:
    165
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    That's heartbreaking reading your story @Czempion but also inspiring.

    Well done for never giving up and I have my fingers crossed you do what you want to do in your career and life. :)