WOLFGANG REIP FROM BELGIUM WINS GT ACADEMY 2012 EUROPE
Saturday, 25 August, 2012: Belgian competitor Wolfgang Reip emerged victorious from over 830,000 European Gran Turismo® gamers when he was crowned Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy champion today at Silverstone. The 25-year-old student from Lachutel will return to the UK shortly to embark on an intensive Driver Development Programme preparing him to race in the demanding Dubai 24 Hours in January in a Nissan 370Z GT4 car.
The denouement of the gamer-to-racer competition was held as part of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) round at Silverstone - fittingly where former GT Academy champions Lucas Ordoñez and Jordan Tresson are racing in Nissan-powered LMP2 cars. The six final competitors raced on the world famous Grand Prix circuit in identical Nissan 370Zs. Starting from pole position, Wolfgang held off a challenge from second placed Andrea Cosaro and pulled out an unassailable lead to take the chequered flag.
After a long judges' deliberation, when all of the data from the intensive week of driver training and each drivers' future potential were considered, Reip was eventually announced as GT Academy 2012 European champion and took the top step of the podium at Silverstone.
"This is the most amazing day of my life," said an emotional Wolfgang." It is incredible, just incredible. I cried on the podium because there was so much emotion. It has been such a long week. There were so many different challenges and so much to learn and experience. To come out at the end of it as the winner, out of so many people who took part on Gran Turismo is just unbelievable.
"I was confident in the race. I really wanted to win it. It was quite amazing. It was a very difficult track because of the rainy conditions. There were constant changes, corner after corner the track got wetter in some parts and drier in others. I had the race under control. Andrea tried to pass me going into copse, but I knew I could re-pass him on the exit of the corner so it wasn't a threat."
Race Camp started when the 36 fastest PlayStation gamers from Europe arrived at Silverstone on Friday, 17 August. Split into six territory groups of six competitors, they were put through their paces in a variety of Nissan 370Zs, GT-Rs and other cars in many different challenges. The field was gradually reduced during the week as the impressive and experienced team of territory mentors decided which of their drivers had what it takes to make it through to the final stages of Race Camp.
"Race Camp has been really good. I am extremely impressed by the organisation and all that the competitors have done." commented Benelux mentor Bas Leinders. "In the end, this was a very tough decision. In the race there were two guys who did a great job. The Italian, Andrea, started from the back of the grid but got a good start and was quickly up to second and challenging. For ‘Wolf', it was hard to start from pole in the wet, but he was able to pull away until the last lap. Both have real potential and everyone felt they both deserve the chance to be racing.
"However, we had to make a decision, and the logical choice was the guy who had qualified on pole and won the race. I feel really strongly about this guy. He is top notch and can really do it. In the deliberation I put my reputation on the line arguing his case."
The GT Academy Europe 2012 can be followed on various platforms including: www.facebook.com/GTAcademy; www.twitter.com/GTAcademy; www.youtube.com/gtacademyeurope; www.flickr.com/photos/gtacademyeurope .
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About GT Academy Europe
GT Academy is a collaboration between PlayStation® and Nissan that uses the virtual world of the Gran Turismo® game to unearth real-world racing talent. Now in its fourth year, GT Academy has been expanded to include separate competitions for Europe (UK & Ireland; France; Italy; Spain & Portugal; Benelux; Austria, Switzerland & Poland), Germany, USA and Russia.
Stage One - Gran Turismo Qualification Demo
A bespoke, online GT Academy qualification was open to anyone with a PlayStation®3 (terms and conditions apply), where the fastest 16 gamers in each participating territory gained access to the National Finals.16 further competitors also entered National Finals via a series of Live Gran Turismo®5 events.
Stage Two - National Finals
For GT Academy Europe, up to 32 qualifiers from ‘Stage One' will progressed to each territory's National Final. A total of six winners emerged from each participating GT Academy territory group to progress to the GT Academy Race Camp at Silverstone.
Stage Three - Race Camp at Silverstone and DDP
36 competed at the legendary Race Camp, with only one winner crowned European GT Academy Champion. Wolfgang Reip (BEL) will now take part in the intensive Driver Development Programme. The winner will qualify for an international race licence before competing in the Dubai 24 Hour race in January 2013.
Previous GT Academy winners
Previous winners of GT Academy are now regular racing drivers. In 2012 Lucas Ordoñez (Spain, winner in 2008) is contesting the European Le Mans Series and Le Mans 24 Hours in the Greaves Motorsport Nissan-powered LMP2 car; Jordan Tresson (France, winner in 2010) is contesting the FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours in the Signatech Nissan LMP2 car; Jann Mardenborough (UK, winner in 2011) is racing a Nissan GT-R GT3 in the Blancpain Endurance Series and British GT Championship.
News and views on GT Academy 2012 and the progress of all the GT Academy drivers can be followed on various platforms including: www.facebook.com/GTAcademy | www.twitter.com/GTAcademy | www.youtube.com/gtacademyeurope | www.flickr.com/photos/gtacademyeurope .
About the Gran Turismo® Franchise
With more than 60 million units shipped worldwide, the award-winning Gran Turismo® franchise for the PlayStation® , PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®3 and PSP (PlayStation® Portable) is regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulator ever created due to its true-to-life graphics, authentic physics technology and design. Since the inception of the Gran Turismo franchise, famed creator Kazunori Yamauchi and Polyphony Digital Inc. in Japan have revolutionized the racing category as we know it today. His offerings provide the most realistic driving simulation in the industry and a unique medium for automotive manufacturers to showcase their products.
Gran Turismo®5 was released on 24 November, 2010 and sold 5.5 million units worldwide in its first two weeks on sale. The ninth instalment of the world's best-selling racing franchise features a completely new physics engine for an improved feel for steering during turns and drifts, delivering a more intuitive driving experience than ever before. The game also features an impressive line-up of more than 1,000 licensed cars from the world's top manufacturers. Other innovative features include stereoscopic 3D support, real-time car damage, dynamic weather effects and a deep online and community feature set where players can race online with up to 16 competitors through PlayStation®Network. With the widest scope and depth of gameplay options in the Gran Turismo series, Gran Turismo 5 offers users an entertainment experience that is only possible on PS3.
About Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), based in London, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and sales of PlayStation®3, PlayStation®2, PSPTM (PlayStation®Portable) and PlayStation®Network software and hardware in 99 territories across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania. SCEE also develops, publishes, markets and distributes entertainment software for these formats, and manages the third party licensing programs for the formats in these territories. Since the launch of PlayStation 3 in November 2006, 55.5 million units have been sold globally and continue to be sold at a record level. Maintaining its position as one of the most successful consumer electronic products in history, PlayStation 2 has sold over 153.6 million systems worldwide. Since its launch at the end of 2004, over 73 million PSPs have been sold globally, highlighting the importance of the portable entertainment market. With the huge increase in interest and accessibility of network applications and network gaming, more than 90 million accounts have registered to PlayStation Network, the free-to-access interactive environment, and over 1.91 billion items have been downloaded.
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About Nissan in Europe
Nissan has one of the most comprehensive European presences of any overseas manufacturer, employing more than 12,500 staff across locally-based design, research & development, manufacturing, logistics and sales & marketing operations. Last year Nissan plants in the UK, Spain and Russia produced a range of vehicles including mini-MPVs, award-winning crossovers, SUVs and commercial vehicles. Nissan now offers 24 diverse and innovative products for sale in Europe today, and is positioned to become the number one Japanese brand in Europe..