Sony Computer Entertainment New Zealand has announced that after five days of gruelling training, New Zealand’s first-ever representative at the GT Academy has come home.
19 year old Wellington student, Tony Autridge, has been eliminated along with nine others from the GT Academy in Silverstone, UK.
Despite his early elimination, Tony describes his time at the GT Academy as a once in a lifetime opportunity that he will never forget.
“Who would have thought that playing a PS3 and entering the GT Academy competition would lead me all the way to Silverstone? I have learnt invaluable skills - it was like starting at the very highest level of motorsport, constantly learning about driving techniques on and off the track,” says Tony.
During the five days that Tony was at the Academy, he was involved in a rigorous racing boot-camp with nineteen other competitors from around the world. Finalists were tested and measured on driving skills through a series of challenges which included handling Nissan cars in both the virtual and real world.
Honing competitors’ driving skills was not the only focus of the demanding boot-camp: mental and physical tests were also undertaken to equip competitors with the right mindset and attitude to succeed in the racing world.
Tony was able to experience this race-winning attitude first-hand, as he worked alongside former F1 boss Eddie Jordan, two-time Nürburgring 24-Hour winner Sabine Schmitz and Formula One and Le Mans 24 Hour winner Johnny Herbert.
Whilst Tony says that leaving the Academy was difficult and a touch disappointing, he is looking forward to seeing his family and planning the rest of the year after his plane touches down on Friday.
“I know quite a lot of people would have given anything to be in my shoes - I got to train with the best the world has to offer, I learnt a lot and I got to drive some pretty amazing cars – it’s been a bit like a dream really,” says Tony.
David Hine, Director of Sales and Marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment New Zealand is thrilled with Tony’s involvement at GT Academy.
"With over 1.1 million people having tried out for the GT Academy globally, Tony has achieved something that only a handful can lay claim to. This is an outstanding achievement for New Zealand’s first representative at the GT Academy, and we once again congratulate Tony on representing New Zealand from the living room to the racing track", says David Hine.