Kiwi Virtual Racer Selected to Head to Silverstone
The first New Zealander to compete in the global GT Academy has been announced and will fly out to Silverstone, UK, in
less than three weeks to compete for the ultimate racing prize – a full season racing in the European GT4 Cup in a
Auckland, NZ - Sony Computer Entertainment New Zealand has announced 19 year old Wellington student Tony Autridge as the
New Zealand winner of GT Academy 2010. Autridge is New Zealand’s first representative in the international competition,
which will see 19 competitors from 14 countries going head-to-head for the ultimate prize.
To find the country’s top GT driver, 20 finalists were flown in from all across the country to participate in the final
event at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, but after a rigorous competition it is only Autridge who will take his
PlayStation®3 (PS3™) lounge room racing dreams to the race track, literally.
Under the scrutiny of motoring media and top international race driver Jonny Reid, it was Tony's consistency and
coolness under pressure that pulled him through and elevated him above the tough competition. Demonstrating an ability
to time and execute clean passing manoeuvres as well as being able to lead from the front, Tony will be a serious
contender for the next stage of the GT Academy at Silverstone. But it wasn’t easy.
"It was really tough. And you needed a bit of luck too," says Autridge of the NZ finals. "I'm very excited to be going.
But it still hasn't sunk in yet."
After the competition, Autridge was given his first taste of the real thing – a drive in a Nissan 370Z, one of the cars
he may end up racing in on the European GT4 Cup circuit. Under the guidance of top international driver Jonny Reid, Tony
showed that the skills he’s been honing on his PS3 transferred to the track well.
In less than three weeks, Autridge will travel to the GT Academy at Silverstone, UK to undergo a 5-day rigorous training
program against 19 international competitors for the chance to win the competition’s ultimate prize – the chance to
become a real world, professional race car driver.
During the racing ‘boot-camp’, participants will have the chance to develop new driving skills through a series of
online and off-line challenges that will include handling of Nissan cars and will also be judged on physical fitness and
The two finalists that best display the talent, fitness, aptitude, drive and determination required to succeed in motor
sport, will undergo a UK-based intensive driving and racing programme to prepare them to qualify for an international
racing license. Finally, the driver with the most potential will compete on an international stage, racing a full season
in the European GT4 Cup in a Nissan 370Z prepared by RJN Motorsport in May, 2010.
Autridge follows in the footsteps of Spanish student Lucas Ordoñez, who graduated from his PlayStation 3 console to
become a full-time racing driver via the GT Academy in 2008.
“GT Academy is turning dreams into reality” says David Hine, Sales and Marketing Director, SCE New Zealand. “From
enjoying the ultimate racing game, Gran Turismo on his PlayStation at home, PlayStation and Nissan have given Tony the
opportunity of realising his dreams of becoming a real-life racing driver through GT Academy.”
“The team at PlayStation share Tony's excitement and anticipation as he heads to the UK. With 2010 being the inaugural
year of New Zealand's involvement in GT Academy, we wish him well and will be supporting him all