It was eight of the most enthralling laps that any motorsport enthusiast could have wished for. Matthew, the 26 year old from Brisbane, Australia got a fantastic start off the line but was edged out coming in to the first corner by Ryan and Hüseyin. Ryan missed a breaking point early on in the race, running very wide and dropping back to fifth which left Hüseyin and Matthew to battle it out.
After exchanging blows three or four times in as many laps Matthew seemed to have cemented first spot with back to back fastest lap times before his car seemingly slowed due to a mechanical fault allowing both Hüseyin and Juan Carlos to pass him.
The checkered flag was followed by nearly an hour of deliberation between the judges as the mentors and contestants waited patiently. Rob Barff, the head judge, eventually announced the final decision on the podium surrounded by the mentors and the final five competitors to huge cheers from the Australian team.
The 2015 Nissan PlayStation GT Academy International Race Camp Winner is Matthew Simmons.
“I genuinely can’t believe it; I’m on top of the world. Unfortunately a mechanical problem took the race out of my hands but that’s motorsport and you can’t hide that, and I think in the early stages of the race I really showed the potential of what I can do. The wait on the podium was killing me but when Rob said my name I had to do a double take, I can’t believe he said it and I’m now a racing driver!”
He now comes back to Australia to pack his bags, moves to the UK for the intense NISMO Driver Development Program, and in 2015 will be a full-time professional race driver – a NISMO Athlete – racing a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 (the same car that won the 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour), starting with the 2016 Dubai 24 Hours on 15-16 Jan 2016.