Nissan has announced Matt Simmons, Australia’s recent gamer-turned-racer, will compete in next year’s Blancpain Endurance Series for the brand.
He will join the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN squad for the 2016 season of the Blancpain Endurance Series driving a fully-fledged Nissan GT-R GT3, which features race aerodynamics, slicks, and produces up to 404kW in race trim.
The news comes only months after Simmons, who at the start of this year worked as a Brisbane courier, beat thousands of other hopefuls to win Nissan’s GT Academy International competition, and weeks after his first test of Nismo’s GT3 car at Snetterton, England.
Turning the former gamer in to a race driver has been thorough. “I literally had a team of experts working with me every day for around three months on driving, simulator testing, fitness, diet and sports psychology,” he said in a press release.
Simmons’ will now skip his planned race debut at the 2016 Dubai 24 Hours to “focus” on competing in the world’s most fierce GT3 championship, where he will face competition from Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Bentley, and Ferrari.
His teammates are yet to be announced, and whether Simmons will field Pro-am or Pro class car at the first race round in Monza, Italy, on April 23, is not yet known.
But the 2016 season presents the opportunity for Nissan to defend its pro-class win in this year’s Blancpain Endurance series.
Meanwhile, Nissan has confirmed it will try for back-to-back wins at Bathurst after announcing it will return to Mount Panorama next year for the 12 hour enduro.
It will enter a single a new GT-R GT3 built by Nismo in Japan, with the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN to run it – the same crew that will surround Simmons throughout his debut race season.
However, the driver line-up for Nissan’s Bathurst effort will be announced at a later date.