By Nadj Villaver | ExecutiveChronicles
After bagging the top spot in Nissan GT Academy Asia, Nissan Philippines announced its participation in the upcoming Nissan GT Academy 2016. From gamers to professional drivers, the Nissan GT Academy gives aspiring race cars drivers a chance to fulfill their dream of participating in a professional international race.
SJ Huh, NPI General Manager for Marketing confirmed this year’s participation during the exclusive screening of the Nissan GT Academy reality show, produced by NPI’s broadcast partner ABSCBN, on April 11, 2016 at the Bonifacio High Street Cinema.
“The Nissan GT Academy is Nissan’s way of democratizing motorsports, to make it more accessible to the general public. By doing this, we help fast-track the dreams of more potential Filipino racers to reach the international racing arena.” – SJ Huh
In March 2105, the virtual-to-reality racing competition was first launched in the Philippines, gathering over 13,000 aspiring racers in over 20 live events. The screening was done in key cities like Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, within a 4-month period. Twenty players with the best race time in the game 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 Policarpio, Joel Agojo, and Daryl Brady were selected to join the Race Camp at the Silverstone Racing Circuit in the United Kingdom in August 2015.
The Philippine top 6 then underwent a 9-day competition against finalist from Japan, Thailand, India and Indonesia to determine one winner for the Nissan GT Academy Asia leg.
“I’ve seen the best cars you’ll ever see. I’m thankful to Nissan for the opportunity to represent our country,” Terence Lallave shared.
Joward Policarpio bested the rest of the finalists in a qualifying race and was named the first Nissan GT Academy Asia Champion. Joward was the fastest driver but he failed to win the challenges. “Being fast is one thing, finishing the race is another,” Joward revealed regarding his experience.
“2015 was an excellent year for the first Nissan GT Academy in the Philippines, with Joward becoming the first Nissan GT Academy Asia champion. 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.” – SJ Huh