Nissan Philippines Inc. (NPI) has announced the six Filipinos ? which included a lone woman — who qualified to compete in the Nissan GT Academy Race Camp Week in Silverstone United Kingdom.
Out of the 20 finalists who participated in the Nissan GT Academy Season 2 National Finals held last September 6 and 7 at the Megatent in Pasig and Glorietta Activity Center in Makati, the six participants who emerged as top finalists are: Jan Millard Lacuna, Richard Dean D. Jose, Mervin John Mallen, Kim Jiger A. Chong, and Francisco F. Adriano IV, and Elysse T. Menorca.
Menorca is the first woman to become part of the Philippine team, which is competing for the second straight year. Last year, the all-male Philippine team had an auspicious debut with Pinoy driver Joward Policarpio emerging as champion in the Asian leg.
In a speech, NPI president and managing director Ramesh Narasimhan said, ?This is the second year Nissan has democratized motorsports by making the Nissan GT Academy more accessible to Filipino gamers nationwide. This time, the Live Events held in key cities drew over 21,000 trials and even allowed a female participant to be drafted to the top 20.?
?In its last two days of competition, Nissan witnessed how the finalists went through grueling tasks that made each one of them tougher, stronger, and even more competitive, with each one getting more and more ready for the Race Camp Week in Silverstone in UK which starts on October,? he added.
The Nissan GT Academy National Finals this year consisted of a four-part skills test spread into two days of competition.
On Day One, each of the contestants went through vigorous physical challenges like the sergeant jump, planking, push-ups and the bleep test. This was followed by a driving challenge, supervised and mentored by none other than the famed George Ramirez, who is the official Nissan GT Academy driving instructor.
The second day involved pod time attack challenges where each of the players were rated according to their best lap time, consistency, and super pole time.
Finally, on the last leg of the competition was a panel interview by motoring journalists as part of the communication and personality challenge for the participants. Each of the player?s scores from all the connected parts of the two-day competition determined the six qualifiers.
The top six will then compete against each other and against finalists from Australia, Indonesia, Mexico, North Africa, and Thailand at the Race Camp Week in Silverstone.
The Nissan GT Academy champion coming out from the Race Camp in Silverstone will then undergo the Nissan Driver Development Program (NDDP), where he or she will be fully trained to finally become an international race car driver to professionally run under the banner of Nissan.
Narasimhan expressed confidence on this year?s candidates.
?This season saw a more diverse batch of contenders, with a female finalist joining the top six. Nissan is looking forward to celebrating another Filipino Nissan GT Academy Champion soon.?