Continuing on from Last time, I’d like to introduce some of the national finalists gathered at the Silverstone Racecamp.
Alex Porazinski (Age 36) 2014 British Finalist
Thinking that GT Academy would be the only route that would fulfill his dream of becoming a professional racer, he made his challenge in the GT Academy starting from the first one in 2008, every year until 2012. He was always in the top 10 in the national rankings, but had a difficult time making it into race camp.
With a child born in 2013 he stepped away from gaming for a while, but a friend sent him a link to the 2014 Facebook challenge, and he played the mini game (An entry mechanic introduced in Europe using a facebook game) which gave him a chance to participate in a national final event that would determine the 6 UK finalists. He succeeded in grabbing this chance to make it into the much sought after racecamp.
His first discovery of Gran-Turismo was in college. He found out about the game from an Edge magazine he had happened to pick up, in which there was a review article on Gran Turismo. He purchased the software and the first PlayStation together, then proceeded to play Gran Turismo day and night. He said he ended up playing the game so much he failed to graduate college.
He has a notebook in which he has recorded race notes and settings for all tracks and cars in the game to improve his driving skill. Even Yamauchi san was surprised at the level of thoroughness in his efforts.
Next was a visit to the homes of the racecamp participants: They are staying in Snoozebox hotels built of 40 foot containers during their participation in racecamp. Supposedly the famous driver David Coulthard has a hand in the Snoozebox business.
Gathering Intel from the other competitors, Maciej Pawtoski’s (21) room was said to be the messiest and was targeted as the first room we’d see.
He begged us to “Just give me one minute to clean!!” and bolted towards his room, but he was stopped in his tracks by the others and his door was forced open (lol). He immediately jumped into the room and kicked his underwear on the floor under the bed. But it wasn’t as messy as we thought it might be, he got lucky!
Alexander Haegermark (30) has a course map taped to a toy belonging to his son to remind him of his child. “With this Its like he’s with me.” he said. He’s probably a fantastic dad at home.
And lastly, this is the Polish finalist, Kamil Fraczak (age 24)
Kamil had just graduated from the Polish Air Force Academy, a new fighter pilot of the Polish Airforce. He marked the highest scores out of the Swedish, Czech, Polish finalists, and made it to the final 6 members of the GT Academy. (On the right)
I think most people here has driven cars before, but I don’t think there are any others who have piloted a plane (much less a fighter jet). So I asked him to tell his story.
“So I heard you bought the game just for the chance to become a racing driver, but have you ever played Gran Turismo?”
“Actually I had never played Gran Turismo until April of this year, and I bought the PS3 and Gran Turismo 6 just to participate in the GT Academy. I think I practiced for around 3 months. I think simulation games are fun but I’m not a gamer at all.”
“I’ve of course have never been in a fighter plane before, but is piloting a fighter jet and driving a racing car on the track very different? Are there similarities?”
“When you’re piloting a fighter jet you have to be aware of a lot more information than when you drive a racing car. Of course you have a lot of instruments, but the sheer amount of information you have to process is different. But on the other hand in cars, the controllable limits of the car is low, so the amount of control that is required to keep the car in that narrow range is difficult. Braking, tires, slide control I felt is very delicate. And of course I don’t know any basics of race driving, and found it difficult to compete on the track with other people there.”
“Having participated in Racecamp, you made it to the final 6, but are your feelings of wanting to become a racing driver unchanged?”
“Well, but I didn’t win in the end. If there’s a chance like this I’d like to keep making the challenge, but motorsports takes money and you need to learn many more things, so I’d continue my job and keep an eye open for opportunities. Of course, if I could become a racing driver one day I’d be happy.”
So that was the interview with Kamil. I wish I could introduce all of the finalists from each country, this is it for now.
Already past 19:30, the sun is starting to go down at Silverstone. Just a few moments before I finished writing this, the race between the last 5 finalists took place, and the 2014 winner of the GT Academy was born. To all the finalists, thank you for showing us a fantastic fight. Good job!