Nissan Philippines Inc. (NPI) announced early this month its participation in the upcoming Nissan GT Academy 2016 during the screening of the ABS-CBN-produced Nissan GT Academy reality show at the Bonifacio High Street Cinema in Taguig City (Metro Manila).
First launched locally in March 2015, the Nissan GT Academy is a virtual-to-reality racing competition – tied with the Gran Turismo racing game – that gives aspiring racecar drivers a chance to fulfill their dream of participating in a professional international race.
“The Nissan GT Academy is Nissan’s way of democratizing motorsports, to make it more accessible to the general public,” said NPI General Manager for Marketing SJ Huh said in a press statement. “By doing this, we help fast-track the dreams of more potential Filipino racers to reach the international racing arena.”
Last year’s Nissan GT Academy saw over 13,000 aspiring racers participate in over 20 live events held in key cities in the country within a four-month period. Twenty players with the best race time in the game then advanced to compete in the National Finals, where they were subjected to physical, driving, media and virtual challenges to determine the top six contenders. From the 20 finalists, Luis Cachero, Rafel Lesaguis, Terence Lallave, Joward Policaprio, Joel Agojo and Daryl Brady were selected to represent the Philippines in the Race Camp at the Silverstone Racing Circuit in the United Kingdom in August 2015.
The six then underwent a nine-day competition against finalists from Japan, Thailand, India and Indonesia to determine one winner for the Nissan GT Academy Asia leg. Policarpio bested the rest of the finalists in a qualifying race and was named the first Nissan GT Academy Asia Champion.
“[The year] 2015 was an excellent year for the first Nissan GT Academy in the Philippines, with Joward becoming the first Nissan GT Academy Asia champion,” Huh said. “Not only is he the first Nissan GT Academy Asia champion, but he is the first Filipino to win the title. We hope to continue this strong performance, as we look forward to launching the second Nissan GT Academy in the Philippines later this year.”