Six Aussies in Nissan PlayStationGT Academy International Final
Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
By Nissan Motorsport
Nissan Australia and Sony Computer Entertainment Australia have confirmed the six Australian gamers that will compete at the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy International Final at the Silverstone circuit in the United Kingdom next month.
The six Australians earned progression after a gruelling Nissan PlayStation GT Academy Australian Final in Melbourne over the weekend, where 28 of Australia's best gamers competed for glory across two days of intense competition.
Sydney's Joshua Muggleton, Melbournians Peter Read, Benjamin Smith, Marcello Rivera and Luca Giacomin, and Dylan Gulson, who resides from Bathurst, New South Wales - the spiritual home of Australian motorsport - won the six coveted places at Silverstone.
These successful gamers now prepare to battle against fellow gamers from Thailand, India, Mexico and the Middle East at the 2014 Nissan PlayStation GT Academy International Race Camp.
Twenty-two year old journalism student Gulson said it was a huge thrill to progress to the final.
"Motor racing is a big part of what I do, looking over Mount Panorama everyday. I can see the mountain from my home!" he said.
"All I've ever wanted to do was something that involved motor racing, so to have this opportunity could be the start of something big and it's a dream come true."
The Australian finalists will compete against 24 international hopefuls, getting the opportunity to compete in on-track evaluations at the home of the British Grand Prix, driving some of Nissan's best road and race cars.
The winner of the International Final will get the chance to become a professional race driver, as they're put through an intensive Driver Development Programme to ready them for a drive with Nissan at the 2015 Dubai 24 Hour sportscar race.
The Australian Final was held over two days in wintery conditions, with finalists from all around Australia converging on Melbourne for the pressure-filled event.
Fourteen contestants progressed through to the final via 'online play' of Gran Turismo6 on PlayStation3, with the other 14 qualifying via 'live events' held at V8 Supercars Championship events in Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth, as well as shopping centre events held in conjunction with Dick Smith in Sydney and Brisbane.
The Gaming Challenges were staged in a spectacular setting on the car preparation floor at the state-of-the-art Nissan Motorsport race team in Melbourne, with contestants literally staring at their dreams as they vied for supremacy in various challenges in Gran Turismo6, just a few feet from the Nissan Altima V8 Supercars.
Nissan Motorsport's fitness expert Sam Waley also pushed finalists to their limit in the Fitness Challenges.
The event also ventured to the famous Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit south of Melbourne, where the gamers were faced with Driving Challenges in Nissan 370Z coupes under the watchful eyes of Nissan Motorsport V8 Supercars driver and former Bathurst 1000 winner Todd Kelly, as well as racing driver and driving instructor Samantha Reid.
Given the importance of the off-track elements involved in professional motorsport, finalists were also subjected to scrutiny in a Media Conference scenario.