Now in the Philippines: Nissan’s GT Academy Virtual Pro-Racing Competition


Whenever there’s action these days, expect the Philippines to be part of it, including Nissan GT Academy, an institution where  virtual-to-pro racing competition happens, and where Nissan Philippines, Inc. is now participating in.

Nissan GT Academy started in 2008 and has since been played globally. Last March 25, 2015, this racing competition was formally unveiled to the general public.  Philippines launch marks its 7th installment, and our country will be pitting against other Asian countries including Japan in the battle to become the Nissan GT Academy Champion.

Antonio Zara, President and Managing Director of Nissan Philippines, Inc.

“With the launch of Nissan GT Academy in the Philippines, we at Nissan offer an exciting opportunity for Filipinos to emerge as a breakthrough talent in the racing world,” said Antonio Zara, President and Managing Director of Nissan Philippines, Inc.

How does it work?

An aspiring player has to first prove his or her driving skills in the world of video games and once proven, she or he can compete in a real racetrack.

Ricardo Sanchez, 2014 Nissan GT Academy International Champion

Take Ricardo Sanchez, GT Academy International Champion 2014 as an example. After 3 months of intense training, the Mexican player was ready to race and along with his team-mates achieved the dream start to his career by finishing second in their class in the race and 5th overall, an incredible achievement. His prize was to complete the rigorous GT Academy Driver Development Programme to equip him with the skills to race a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 at the 2015 Dubai 24 Hours. He now lives in Silverstone, UK.

Sanchez flew in all the way from UK to attend the Philippines launch. After winning last year’s competition, Ricardo’s racing career took off after he joined Nissan’s elite motor sport team, the NISMO, to run the coveted tracks of the prestigious Dubai 24-Hour race in January 2015.

The Stages: From Gamer to Racer

There are 5 stages that players in the Philippines will go through this year from Nissan GT Academy to turn them into professional racers.

Ricardo Sanchez

Nissan GT Academy Philippines

More photos of Nissan GT Academy in the Philippines – Virtual to Actual Launching here

First Gear: The Recruitment (April – June)

Thousands of hopefuls will be narrowed down to the top 20 gamers to be determined by time trials taking place behind the wheel of GT pods during live racing events.

Second Gear: National Finals (July)

The National Finals will determine top 6 Filipino players who will go to the next round and go bumper-to-bumper with the best Gran Turismo drivers in Asia.

Third Gear: The Race Camp Week (August)

Players will be tested on their strength, stamina, mental agility and driving skills against Asia’s best at the Silverstone Racing Circuit in UK.

Fourth Gear: Driver Development Program (to be scheduled)

The emerging Nissan GT Academy Champion in Asia will join other GT Academy winners in a rigorous training under the wing of professional coaches and racers at the Silverstone Racing Circuit in UK.

Fifth Gear: Graduation (to be scheduled)

After passing the Driver Development Program, graduates will receive their International C License, allowing them to compete in a prestigious racing event anywhere in the world.

Laurence Wiltshire, Nissan GTAcademy Global’s Managing Director

“We are looking forward to discovering even more new stars in 2015. Anyone in the Philippines who thinks they have what it takes should give GT Academy a go. Not everyone can win, but the experience is hugely rewarding at every stage of the competition.” said GTA Global’s Managing Director Laurence Wiltshire.

For the schedule of live events and updates on the Nissan GT Academy Philippines, please visit

May the best player win.

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About the author /

Kit is a self-taught photographer who possesses an insatiable desire to capture and freeze through his lens remarkable moments that revolve around travel, food, sports and special events. A registered nurse by profession, Kit traces back his passion for visual media when his camera has become his constant companion to his various medical missions and travels. His photographic works can be viewed at the and, website he established that feature collections of photographs and blogs about the many travel and food tripping adventures of his family and friends. He also undertakes freelance assignments for online and print publications, most recently at Motorcycle Magazine where he is a contributor. He may be reached at

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