GT Academy 2012: UK & Ireland National Final

GT Academy 30 July 18, 2012 by

Six UK and Republic of Ireland players have booked their places for a Silverstone return at next month’s Boot Camp, following two days of gruelling virtual and real driving and fitness challenges.

32 competitors were invited to attend the regional final at Silverstone, which commenced with some GT5 head-to-head racing on Tuesday 17th July. The players faced three eight-man races apiece at Laguna Seca, the Nürburgring GP/D and Suzuka – a single lap to qualify at each, followed by a 3 lap race – with the bottom 14 players eliminated.

The top 18 progressed to day 2, which started with more GT5. The players were seeded into three six-man heats and the top 2 from each progressed to the “A-Final” and the final 12. The remaining twelve players raced a pair of semi-finals with the top 3 from each progressing to the “B-Final” and the final 12, with the remaining six players eliminated. Their performances in the A- and B-Finals comprised their score for the GT5 section.

These 12 then faced the other challenges. First came the media test, where finalists were faced with a barrage of tricky questions from an unrelenting press – who also scored the drivers on their answers. From there they moved to the Autotest – a very slippery car park gymkhana and two attempts to set a time (after a practice run) in a semi-race Nissan 370Z with all driving aid fuses pulled! As if this wasn’t tiring enough the players moved onto the fitness testing, where they faced standing vertical leaps, push-ups, planking and the dreaded bleep test -punctuated by a downpour of Silverstone standards, proving even Mother Nature hates a bleep test.

The scores from all events were totted up and six players were given their prize – though not before the fastest journalist in the Autotest and a GT5 time trial was given a surprise bottle of champagne (that proved to be… me).

The six winning gamers were, in order from first to sixth:

1. Des Foley (GTP_Dessy)
2. Thomas Gibson (GTP_Rutter200)
3. Dan Glover (Dantastic-_-)
4. Jack O’Neill (Jackcerracing)
5. David Williams (My3id_Dave)
6. István Demes (DemesGT)

Foley and Gibson proved to be level on points, separated only on countback (Foley gaining one more second place), while O’Neill is the only Wild Card qualifier having won his place from the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Congratulations to all six finalists – and to the two GTP_ Registry drivers particularly. Now the challenge really begins!

With thanks to Sony Europe, Nissan, the staff at Silverstone and Jardine International.

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