As we continue to gear up for the launch of GT Academy 2011 this Friday, it’s as good an opportunity as any to take a look at the continuing, evolving story of the winner of the very first GT Academy.
The story of the inaugural GT Academy in 2008 was very much the emergence of a gifted young Spanish driver. That driver was Lucas Ordoñez who, having won the GT Academy, quickly secured his international racing licence and lined up for his first race at the Dubai 24hr, driving alongside the former F1 driver and Le Mans winner Johnny Herbert.
Demonstrating huge potential at the Dubai race, Lucas followed this early promise with a strong showing in the 2009 European GT4 Cup driving alongside Alex Buncombe. The pair closed the season with a second place overall in the drivers’ championship, whilst achieving a notable team win for the PlayStation Nissan GT Academy team.
It is fair to say that Lucas had a frustrating time in the 2010 GT4 Cup, but still managed fourth place overall despite missing one round when he was given the chance to race an LMP2 car in the Le Mans Series race at Silverstone. He continued to show real speed and determination while his experience grew.
This week at the Geneva Motorshow, Nissan announced that the next chapter in Lucas’ remarkable journey will take place on the 11th and 12th June, when he will contest arguably the most famous race in the world, the Le Mans 24 Hours, which is the third round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup series.
The Intercontinental Le Mans Cup consists of seven races in 2011. Starting with the 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida on 19th March, it includes the 1,000km of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, the Le Mans 24 Hours and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The series finale takes place in November in China.
All of this makes you stop to think just how incredible it is that, just over three years ago, Lucas was an MBA student who enjoyed playing Gran Turismo in his spare time. Fast forward to 2011 and he is set to notch the next milestone in a dizzying ascent from racing gamer to fully fledged international racing driver.
Have you got what it takes to make a similar journey of your own? We look forward to seeing you on the starting grid on Friday.