The GT Academy programme launched in the Middle East at GAMES12 last year. And now, after months of gruelling wait (and countless tests and practises and matches, I am sure), the inagural GT Academy Middle East challenge finally has a winner: Qatar's Salman Al Khater.
GT Academy is a collaboration between Nissan and Sony to nuture Gran Turismo masters into actual racers - this means undertaking the grusesome task of pushing them from the comfort of their couches and analogue sticks to behind the wheels of an actual race car. And as ridiculous as it sounds, it's actually quite true and happening, and the programme has produced several tophy-winning racers from around the globe. Now that he has won, the 29-year old mechanical engineer will face his first true challenge, his first professional race in a 6-hour Endurance gruel at the famous Silverstone circuit in September.
“GT Academy has made my dream of becoming a professional racing driver come true” said Salman. “I had no professional motorsport experience, but I did have the passion to follow my dream. It was tough as the standard of my competitors was very high but that makes winning even more rewarding."
‘When GT Academy Middle East was announced, I was so glad to hear the news that I started training on the same day," he added. "I have been playing Gran Turismo ever since I was a kid and until today Gran Turismo is my favourite game.’
“I want to thank everyone who has helped me, but especially Nissan and Sony PlayStation for this life-changing opportunity.”
Khater has moved to UK permenantely and lives nearby to the Silverstone circuit so he can train as much as possible. Well, we hope that pays off. Congrats Khater, win some!
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