Last year, the Philippines joined Nissan’s GT Academy for the first time. The results made joining the contest a decision worth making, as the country’s very own Joward Policarpio was declared Asian Leg Champion. Policarpio also went on to graduate from the Nissan Driver Development Program at the Silverstone Racing Circuit, UK, which qualified him for the Dubai 24-hour Race.
This year, the country is aiming for another GT win as it begins the first phase of the 2016 Nissan GT Academy. Here in Cagayan de Oro, First Gear (Recruitment) has been happening at the Ayala Centrio Mall for the past three days (August 5-7). Hundreds of Gran Turismo gamers have registered, hoping to become the next Filipino professional racer to make it big in national and international tracks.
If you, too, are gearing up to become a professional car racer, or even if you’re simply a racing enthusiast who’s interested in all things racing, then you would certainly want to learn more about the Nissan GT Academy.
The GT Academy competition is the first of its kind not only in the Philippines, but across the globe. It aims to assist players of the game Gran Turismo (hence, the GT) in becoming full-fledged professional car racers. Each phase of the competition is referred to as a “gear.” First Gear is Recruitment, which is what just took place at Centrio Mall. At the end of this phase, the 20 players with the best time will move on to Second Gear.
Second Gear is the National Finals, where the top 20 gamers from recruitment will be further trimmed down to the top 6. These six players will be the country’s official representatives for the next phase of the competition. Third Gear is the Race Camp Week, where our six racers will compete with players from Australia, Indonesia, Mexico, North Africa, and Thailand. Only one player will move on to the next phase.
Fourth Gear is the Driver Development Program, where the GT Academy Champions of all legs will undergo rigorous training at Silverstone. At the end of the program, those who successfully prove that they have what it takes to race professionally will be given an International C License and earn a slot in Nissan’s team for the Dubai 24-hour Race.
The Nissan GT Academy is open to all Filipino citizens who fulfill the following entry criteria:
- Must be 18 years old or above on the scheduled date of the National Finals
- Must hold a valid Philippine passport and have the capability to obtain the appropriate visa for the Race Camp Week and Driver Development Program
- Must hold a Non-professional or Professional driver’s license with a restriction code that qualifies the individual to drive a 4-wheel vehicle
- Must have no convictions for any criminal offense; also, must not be the subject of any criminal, administrative, or civil proceeding as litigant
- Must be in good health, without existing medical conditions, disability, or sickness that can limit the individual’s ability to drive a 4-wheel vehicle (should comply with Motor Sports Association’s (MSA) medical requirements)
- Must not have an existing contract for competition driving with any team, agent, body, or management company that could possibly be in conflict with the individual’s ability to accept Race Camp Prize
- Must not have previously held a superior MSA or National A license, or any equivalent license
- Must not have competed in 4-wheeled motorsport at any city, provincial, or national level for one season
- Must not have competed at the GT Academy Race Camp Week in previous GT Academy competitions or in a GT Academy competition in another country
Agents, employees, contractors, and consultants of Nissan Philippines, Inc. (NPI), Omnicom Media Group, TBWA/Santiago Mangada Puno, A+B Expedio, and Adspin Advertising as well as their families, affiliates, subsidiaries, and associated companies, or anyone who is professionally linked to the competition are not qualified to join the GT Academy.
It may too late now to join the competition (unless you can make your way to SM Pampanga, where recruitment happens on August 12-14), but there is always next year. If you’re currently hooked on Gran Turismo and you have dreams of someday being able to compete in a real-life race, then it’s best to spend the next 11 months preparing for the 2017 GT Academy to hit Cagayan de Oro.
In the meantime, let’s wait for the National Finals and cheer for the 6-man Philippine team who will move on to Race Camp Week. Hopefully, one of them will succeed in giving the country a back-to-back win.