On Day 3, eight of our competitors were one step closer to their dream but this day started with a nightmare for them in the shape of an Assault Course dripping with water and mud.
Any racing driver underestimates fitness and conditioning at their peril and our guys were no different – they would be pushed to their physical and mental limits to complete the task.
British Armed Forces created and shouted our guys round the track – there was literally blood, sweat and tears as they struggled against the odds to complete the task and impress the Judges.
Throughout the test one man beat all others, Jordan Tresson, a truly remarkable level of fitness, endurance and mental power to drag himself through the pain barrier. Jeroen Kesselring impressed everyone with his effort and refusal to be beaten.
He said: ” That had to be the worst moment ever in my life. I hurt so much but I had to finish, I could not let the course beat me and risk the Judges thinking I was not committed to going through.”
After the plasters were applied, fluids taken back on board, all of the contestants spent the early afternoon lapping GT-Rs and practising Advanced Car Control in truly treacherous conditions.This was to test how well our contestants could handle the extreme wet at high-speed and show the Judges that they truly had a feel and the skill for putting all that power down on the tarmac.
For the final racing tests of Day 3, our contestants truly were on their own out there on the track. They were to be racing against the clock and each other in single-seater Formula racing cars. This would be a whole new level of car racing and car understanding for each of the drivers to master quickly.
After a few practice laps, all of the Judges stood upon the Pit Wall to watch how they did and noted some truly stand-out performances. Luca Lorenzini continues his consistency in each challenge and went quick, along with Daniel Collins of Ireland. The real speed-demon award belonged to Jordan Tresson of France as he took the fastest lap prize.
All of the contestants went back to base to continue their written tests on racing knowledge, racing lines, conditions – the tools of any racing star. This was to be the last opportunity for the contestants to impress the Judges before 8 would become 4.
Eddie Jordan, Johnny Herbert, Sabine Schmitz and Rob Barff were locked away for nearly two hours as they argued and debated who would go through; who had the most talent, drive, desire and making the most improvement each and every time they took to the tarmac.
The Judges finally agreed to the following four to make it through.
Luca Lorenzini (Italy)
Daniel Collins (Ireland)
Jordan Tresson (France)
Marco Calvo (Spain)
This meant we sadly had to say goodbye to Oliver Simon, Filipe Baretto, Giacomo Cunial and Jeroen Kesselring. All of them Champions and heroes for going through three days of pain, suffering and huge speed.
Oliver Simon of Switzerland said: “I gave it 120% and if there were guys better than me, then so be it. It’s been a lot of fun and I have got to drive cars I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would.”
Daniel Collins of Ireland said: “The efforts made by each competitor was truly supreme. I’m really looking forward to the next two days.”
Judge and motorsport legend Eddie Jordan said: “I’m staggered by the standard. I didn’t believe it was possible for people from the virtual world to have that relationship with the car. They have come here and showed such immediate talent, speed, commitment and understanding of the car. It is extremely impressive. They are real racing drivers.”
The final 4 now shoot it out to be crowned the GT Academy 2010 Champion. This is now where it really matters.
Congratulations to everyone and check out the Facebook site for all the latest.