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22 February 2013

PlayStation GT Academy winners deemed “TOO FAST” for British GT

Words by Christopher Kho
gtacademy gt3
Well that's disappointing. All four 2013 winners of Playstation's GT Academy have been denied entry into this year's British GT Championship on the grounds that they're “too fast” in a sport where going fast is the name of the game. Ironic isn't it?
You see, back in 2012, GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough entered the British GT Championship alongside Alex Buncombe in the national Pro-Am category. As the “amateur,” Mardenborough was expected to be slower of the pair, but proved otherwise. The two pushed their Team RJN Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 that they almost won the championship.
So what's wrong with that? Well, like in most motorsport disciplines, inexperienced drivers are placed in the lowest performance grade so that they can race “at their own pace” and gradually build up both skill and speed. But in the case of Mardenborough, his pace doesn't reflect his lack of experience so its “not fair” to put drivers like him up against the Pro/Gentleman grid in British GT3 said British GT Championship Manager Benjamin Franassovici. In other words, he's making other “amateurs” look bad.
Thus, they're anticipating that new recruits Wolfgang Reip (2012 European winner from Belgium), Mark Shulzhitskiy (2012 Russian winner), Peter Pyzera (2012 German winner), and Steve Doherty (2012 US winner) will have a similar pace to Mardenborough.
Sadly, that means Nissan GT Academy Team RJN's two-car assault for the 2013 British GT Championship season will have to look elsewhere if they want to race this year.
“We don’t know yet if the new guys will be as fast as Jann but British GT have decided not to take the risk,” said Nissan’s Global Motorsports Director Darren Cox. “It’s disappointing that we can’t put any of our new winners into the British GT Championship as it was a great learning experience for Jann. It’s also very flattering at the same time though. Being told you are too fast isn’t something that happens very often in any competitive sport. We’re working hard now to make sure our new graduates have a great race program this year.”
This goes to show just how good Playstation's Gran Turismo game really is. GT Academy has successfully taken wanna-be racers into real life professional racing drivers, successful ones nonetheless. One notable graduate of the GT Academy is Lucas Ordoñez who worked his way up from simply racing in his living room sofa to a winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2012. And now, these “video game players” are so talented that they're beginning to be “too fast” for other drivers.