Aussie Matthew Simmons has been crowned international champion of Nissan’s PlayStation GT Academy to become Nissan’s newest factory GT driver.
Simmons, a 26-year-old Queenslander, took to Silverstone’s racing circuit this morning against five-other drivers in race-prepared 370Zs for the final hurdle of this year’s competition.
Brisbane-based Simmons qualified on pole and clocked the fastest lap of the race, however mechanical issues saw him finish in third place behind Turkish and Mexico finalists.
Despite this, the GT Academy judges awarded Simmons 2015’s overall title after considering the promise he showed during the race and throughout the contest.
“Matthew has been strong and consistent all week, he’s shown he’s a great team player and we welcome him to the GT Academy family,” said Rob Barff, head judge for GT Academy.
“We’ve been very honest; his car had a problem and in motor racing that happens. It’s something we could have easily shied away from but we haven’t and it’s the right and fair result.”
For Simmons it’s obviously a dream come true for the Australia Post courier. “The wait on the podium was killing me but when Rob said my name I had to do a double take, I can’t believe he said it and I’m now a racing driver!"
The race culminates a week-long race camp for 30 international finalists that initially entered, among hundreds of thousands, on a couch.
Challenges both on and off track throughout the week saw the number of finalists reduced to 10, five of which competed in the final race.
Simmons will undergo an intensive training program before he’s flown to Dubai to join the Nissan factory team to compete in the 2016 Dubai 24 hour.