GT Academy 2015 – Matthew Simmons becomes International Region Champion
In this seventh year of the NISMO PlayStation GT Academy, the 26-year-old courier Matthew Simmons of Brisbane, Australia will be able to live the dream as he became the International 2015 GT Academy winner. Simmons is the first Australian winner of the Nissan GT Academy.
The international finalists from the United States, Australia, Mexico, North Africa, and Turkey gathered at the 2015 GT Academy International Race Camp and competed in a knockout competition. For the final, the last five contenders got behind the wheel of a specially-prepared 370Z NISMO to compete in an eight-lap race on the Silverstone’s national circuit.
Matt Simmons started from pole but did not succeed to cross the finish line in first place. Matt lost the lead to USA’s Ryan Lynch but shortly after regained his first position. Also, Hüseyin Dagli of Turkey came on strong and swapped positions with Matt for three laps in a row. Then disaster struck and Simmons’ car suffered a mechanical problem resulting in Dagli and Mexican finalist Juan Carlos Carmona-Chavez passing him.
However, the judges decided that based upon the overall performance during the week, and the fact that Simmons was unable to defend his first place while having set the fastest lap of the race, he should be crowned the overall winner.
While this decision might sound controversial, it was a valid one. The judges have to keep in mind that the GT Academy finalists do not just have to win the final race, but also have to become the best at handling pressure, facing the media, be extremely fit and excel in driving a number of racing cars. The judges all agreed that Matthew Simmons had ticked all the boxes.
As usual the new GT Academy winner will now start a training schedule to get him prepared to compete in the 2016 Dubai 24H race held in January.
Previous winners such as Lucas Ordóñez. Jan Mardenborough, Wolgang Reip, Florian Strauss and more have proven that the GT Academy has to be taken very serious since most of the contenders that reached the top step of the Academy podium are now long term successful professional racing drivers competing in some of the world’s most spectacular and iconic races.
Congratulations to Matthew. We hope he will enjoy his new life as a professional racing driver.
|Official Webpage – www.gran-turismo.com/gb/academy/news/|