Hi all, I promised I would write an article on the GT Academy National Final. Feel free to use this as a RD news article if you wish... As promised: I wanted to give you guys an idea of the Swiss Final so I'm writing a little report for you to have a look at. First of all is was a bloody long journey! I was picked up in Lausanne and 10 hours later we arrived at circuit de Castellet. What a phenominal place. As the bus pulled up to the hotel there were 2 cars convieniently placed outside the hotel. A Nissan 370z and a Nissa GTR. Beautiful. We got dinner and a free bar!? (I'm English I took full advantage) and then off to bed for a 06:30 start. Got up, got breakfast then we were promptly whisked away to the track for some "track exercises" While the French guys competed. The setting was truly amazing, blue skies, warm day even in Feb and 2 Nissan 370z parked on the track ready to go. Our briefing was: Go through the slalom course in the car in the quickest time possible, take care of the gearbox in your change to 2nd gear. That was pretty much it, we all got about 9 laps each through the slalom course. In the vids it looks slow but trust me, those cones were set to a tight slalom. The second vid is me driving. That was an immense amount of fun. Then we went to a different part of the track and the fun truly started! Our new exercise was to accelerate flat-out up to 3rd gear (i can't remeber how fast) then brake at the orange cone, change down to second at the blue cone, then turn into the corner and hit the apex, gradually applying the gas to speed up for the straight. (I actually was good at this getting the quickest exit speed of my group). I was only beaten by the overall winner Oliver. Again it was amazing!! Here are some vids. This is Dmitiri (Baboun) in the 370 on the corner exercise. I was in the car with him, the idea was that we swapped after about 9 attempts each. It was a lot of fun being in the car with a fellow gamer, we both did pretty well too. Next we just followed the pace car (a GTR) around part of the track. However, the pace car was pretty much flat out most of the time and we just had to keep up. They placed cones out so we knew where to brake and change gear, but other than that it was just keep up, taking turns to be the car directly behind the pace car. So after the amazing morning at the track we went to the paddock for lunch which was nice then we were straight into the compitition. You could tell people were nervous but everyone was in good spirits. My first race was a complete disaster. I broke late and spun on the first corner, I knew I needed to be 2nd or 1st to qualify for the semi's so I put my foot down and luckily ended up 2nd. The semi was time trial around Fuji. I was simply too slow and was beaten by about 2 seconds by the 4 finalists. My 1 minor complaint is that I didn't fit in the pods. It was too small and my knees were by my chin. Really I have no excuse as Oliver the winner was about 6'4 and an inch taller than me! To conclude, the organization was truly amazing, in true Swiss style all timings were kept to the minute, all the hardware and software worked perfectly and things were all very fair, only 1 minor incident in the compitition which was just put down to racing incident. Big thanks go to Sony, Oreca, Nissan and anyone else involved in making it a very memorable day for me! Congratulations to Oliver the Swiss winner. He'll be training hard for the final!