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Abhinay Bikkani From India Gets a Podium Spot at the Nissan Playstation GT Academy International Race Camp

Aug 20, 2014   19:15 IST 
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Abhinay Bikkani from Bengaluru, Karnataka won a spot on the podium in the coveted final race at Nissan’s GT Academy International’s 2014 Race Camp in Silverstone. Abhinay finished third after John Muggleton of Australia and the overall winner Ricardo Sanchez of Mexico. Middle East’s Ahmed Bin-Khanen and Thailand’s Thanaroj Thanasitnitiket finished in fourth and fifth place respectively.


Abhinay, an aspiring race driver got the opportunity of a lifetime when he won his place at Race Camp from the hundreds of thousands of Gran Turismo® gamers that entered the competition across Australia, India, Mexico, the Middle East and Thailand. Having won through the India National Finals, he arrived at Silverstone as one of 6 to represent India, alongside 27 International competitors overall, representing 6 countries split into five territory groups.


Mr. Kenichiro Yomura, President – Nissan India Operations said, “I congratulate Abhinay on behalf of Nissan India for his admirable performance in the GT Academy International 2014 Race Camp. His achievement is even more special as India won a spot on the podium in the final race despite having participated for the first time ever in our coveted driver discovery and development program. This indicates a great motorsports career for him in the future. With GT Academy, we at Nissan are delighted to be able to show a meaningful direction to those who aspire to take motorsports as a career but are ready to work hard for it.”


Karun Chandhok, India Judge and Mentor:

Abhinay did a good job, perhaps a seven out of 10 for the race. He has a lot more potential; in practice and qualifying he was really fast, I really thought he could have won but unfortunately it didn’t work out for him. But he has a lot to be proud of; he beat all his fellow countrymen and got on the podium. He should go home happy. However, I hope to see a stronger and more prolific India in motor racing in the future!”


Over the course of six days, the competitors were put through their paces both on and off track. They enjoyed some of the best racing instruction and mentoring in the world in a range of Nissan cars, including the mighty GT-R, the 370Z Nismo and 370Z race cars. Each group formed a close bond with their territory judge, who acted as a mentor, but then had to make the difficult decisions when it came to eliminations from the competition.


As well as the circuit driving and assessment, the competitors were judged on a series of challenges that included the Mud Mayhem assault course, Nissan Micra Stock Car racing, the Traffic Challenge in the Nissan GT-R, the Dirt Track Time Trial in the Nissan Juke, the head-to-head Gymkhana, Buggy Racing, and a head-to-head Dogfight pursuit race in Nissan 370Zs. Each challenge was accompanied and assessed by their judges that included ex-F1 racer Karun Chandhok, ex-F1 test driver Dani Clos, V8 Supercar legend Rick Kelly, Rally Driver and Drift King Abdo Feghali and renowned Thai Formula racer Tor Graves.


Gradual eliminations led to the penultimate day of Buggy and Dogfight challenges and the finale, which formed the decision from each judge on which of their two best drivers would take the wheel of the 370Z race cars for an eight-lap race of Silverstone’s National circuit.


After some heated judges’ deliberations, it fell to GT Academy head judge Robb Barff to announce the winner on the Silverstone National podium.


I am proud of the continued globalisation of this important brand asset for Nissan and It’s great to see countries with little Motorsport heritage competing as we seek to democratise the sport”, said Darren Cox, Global head of Brand, Marketing and Sales, NISMO. “We now begin the task of developing our new international winner but alongside that we will be reviewing the winners from each of the International territories to see if we can get them more involved in motorsport in the future, as well as looking forward to welcoming even more countries to the programme next year”.


The inaugural Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy International Race Camp drew to a thrilling conclusion at the UK’s Silverstone circuit as Ricardo Sánchez, 24 from Toluca in Mexico, was crowned champion. He will now go on to enjoy four months in one of the most advanced and successful driver development programmes in the world before racing for the Nissan NISMO race team in the international Dubai 24 Hour race in January 2015.


Ricardo now has the chance to show that he has what it takes to become a NISMO Athlete and race all over the world for Nissan, following in the footsteps of the likes of Lucas Ordoñez (now racing in Japanese Super GT) and Jann Mardenborough (a racer-winner this year in the highly-competitive GP3 Formula 1 feeder series).


About Nissan Motor India Pvt. Ltd:

Nissan Motor India Private Ltd. (NMIPL) is a 100% subsidiary of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. Japan. The company was incorporated in 2005 and offers innovative and exciting products across hatchback, MUV, SUV and sedan segments in India. Nissan together with its global alliance partner Renault set up a manufacturing plant and a Research & Development Centre near Chennai. Nissan in India has a portfolio of two brands, Nissan and Datsun. For more information, visit


About GT Academy 2014:

GT Academy is a collaboration between PlayStation® and Nissan that uses the virtual world of the Gran Turismo®6 game to unearth real-world racing talent. Now in its sixth year, GT Academy includes separate competitions for Europe (France, Italy, UK, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Russia, Sweden, Poland and Czech Republic), Germany, North America (USA and Canada) and a new International group (Australia, India, Middle East, Mexico and Thailand).


The GT Academy qualification round will be part of a free Gran Turismo®6 update on PlayStation®3 (terms and conditions apply). The fastest gamers in each participating territory gain access to their region’s National Final event. A number of competitors can also gain access via a series of Live Gran Turismo® events organised locally, and via a Facebook game entry mechanism that leads to a special Gran Turismi®6 qualifying event. The National Finals add driving, fitness and a media element to the gaming.


From National Finals, the action moves to Silverstone for the legendary Race Camp, where the competitors are put through their paces on track in Nissan sports cars under the watchful eyes of high profile judges and mentors. One winner from each competition will be invited to take part in the intensive Driver Development Programme. They could qualify for an international race license and race for Nissan at the Dubai 24 Hours in January 2015, before potentially joining Nissan’s elite NISMO Athletes.


Previous winners of GT Academy are now regular racing drivers. In 2014, Jann Mardenborough (UK, winner in 2011) will be racing in GP3, a feeder series to Formula One, with the championship- winning Arden International team. Lucas Ordoñez (Spain, winner in 2008) will be racing in the Le Mans 24 Hours this year in the innovative Nisan ZEOD RC, alongside Wolfgang Reip (Belgium, winner in 2012). In 2013, Lucas won the Pro-Am Drivers Championship in the Blancpain Endurance Series. The 2013 Champions, Stanislav Aksenov (Russia), Miguel Faísca (Europe), Nick McMillen (USA) and Florian Strauss (Germany) are competing in the Blancpain Endurance Series with the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN.


News and views on GT Academy 2014 and the progress of all the GT Academy drivers can be followed on various platforms including:


About the Gran Turismo® Franchise:

Gran Turismo® celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2013, having first appeared internationally in 1998. The multi-award-winning franchise has been the most successful ever for PlayStation®, and in 2013 it also surpassed worldwide sales of 70 million units. Various iterations of Gran Turismo® have been created for PlayStation® , PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PlayStation®3 and PSP (PlayStation® Portable), and have always been regarded as the best and most authentic driving simulators ever created due to true-to-life graphics, authentic physics technology and design. Since the inception of Gran Turismo®, famed creator Kazunori Yamauchi and Polyphony Digital Inc. in Japan have revolutionized the racing category as we know it today. His offerings provide the most realistic driving simulation in the industry and a unique medium for automotive manufacturers to showcase their products. Gran Turismo®6, the latest iteration of the game, was released on 6 December, 2013.




Sushant Balsekar

Nissan Motor India Pvt. Ltd.

Tel : +91-22-30140000

Mobile: +91-99200-78432



Vijayendra Vikram Singh

Nissan Motor India Pvt. Ltd.

Tel : +91-22-30140000

Mobile : +91-98199-31183



Abhishek Savant

Adfactors PR Pvt. Ltd.

Mobile: +91-8108848822



Hardik Desai

Adfactors PR Pvt. Ltd.

Mobile: +91-9819699125


Abhinay Bikkani- Image 1
Abhinay Bikkani- Image 1
Abhinay Bikkani- Image 2
Abhinay Bikkani- Image 2
Silverstone Racing Camp

Silverstone Racing Camp
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