More GT Academy Finals, More Nismo Athletes

March 12th, 2013 by Andrew Evans

With the 2013 motorsport season getting underway, 2012’s final GT Academy champions have yet to be decided as eight Middle East and eight South African gamers head to a Silverstone showdown.

The traditional GT Academy Race Camp, with harsh fitness challenges and real-world driver training, will ensue on 15th March. There’s an as-yet unclear international format between the two regions for the ultimate prize of a seat at the 2013 Silverstone 24 hours.

Joining the eight Middle East qualifiers from the Dubai event will be eight South African qualifiers from a final held at the end of January. These eight lucky individuals are:

  • Louis Aylward
  • Robin van Merch
  • Jonathan Mogotsi
  • Ashley Oldfield
  • David Peetham
  • Hercules du Preez
  • Gerhard Rautenbach
  • Jacobus Volschenk

Meanwhile the previous winners’ race schedules have been confirmed for 2013. The “Nismo Athletes”, as they are now termed, will be competing together in the Blancpain Endurance Series, the FIA GT series and the Le Mans 24 Hours.

European winner Wolfgang Reip and Russian winner Mark Shulzhitskiy will partner up as an all-gamer, Pro-Am entry in the FIA GT series GT3 class, driving the #32 RJN prepared Nismo GT-R GT3. Amongst their competitors will be Lucas Ordoñez and long-standing GT Academy partner driver Alex Buncombe in the other RJN car, #35.

For the Blancpain Endurance Series, Wolfgang and Mark will be joined by German winner Peter Pyzera, while Lucas and Alex have USA winner Steve “Dan Mitchell” Doherty as their third driver. BES will include a 1000km race at Nürburgring and the Spa 24 Hours this season, so it’ll be a stern test for the newcomers!

Lucas is also scheduled to compete at the Le Mans 24 Hours again with a Greaves Motorsport LMP2 car powered by Nissan, with 2011 European winner Jann Mardenborough taking a break from his European Formula 3 season with Carlin to join him, though their other co-driver is yet to be confirmed.

It’s not all good news for GT Academy’s winners though. 2010 winner Jordan Tresson has not had his contract renewed and will not appear as a Nismo Athlete in 2013. Concerningly, there’s also no word on 2011 US winner Bryan Heitkotter for this season yet.

We wish the Nismo Athletes and the South African and Middle East drivers hoping to join them the best of luck!

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  1. Mar. 23, 3:26pm

    Much support to the class of 2012! I hope to join the ranks in 2013!

  2. Mar. 20, 12:49pm

    Does any one no when gt academy 2013 will start and how to register to participate in the event

  3. Mar. 13, 4:35pm

    I was photographying the Blancpain tests at Paul Ricard today, it was really cool to see these two cars in the pack !

  4. Mar. 13, 1:23am

    Thanks for all the supporting comments. With one day to go we are all very excited to land in the UK. Hope the cold conditions don’t affect us that much. Catch you guys online.

  5. Mar. 12, 11:05pm

    Good luck to all the new academy members.

  6. Mar. 12, 7:15pm

    I’ll be rooting for you guys in the Blancpain Endurance Series.

  7. Mar. 12, 6:54pm

    Congrats :), but I would’ve liked more variety in the GT Academy cars.

    • Mar. 13, 11:46pm

      The fact that they are all Nissan’s is a bummer for me to, lol. Now that PD has that Chevy deal we could have Corvette Academy.

  8. Mar. 12, 5:13pm

    Starting to loose track of all the GT Academy entrants into professional racing…

    What a great opportunity this is for up and coming racers. Wished I was 10 yrs younger and these opportunities exists back then :)

    • Mar. 13, 11:47pm

      Never too late my man. As Roger Penske says, “the cream rises to the top”.

  9. Mar. 12, 3:58pm

    Even in the far future (when I’m old enough to TRY this), I probably wouldn’t be athletic enough to succeed in some of the extreme physical tests they run early in the GT Academy Camp Finals. Anyway, praying for one of these gamers’ racing dreams to come true. :)

  10. Mar. 12, 3:22pm


  11. Mar. 12, 3:04pm

    Good luck guys, man it must be amazing to be there

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