Abhinay Bikkani from Bengaluru, Karnataka won a spot on the podium in the coveted final race at Nissan’s GT Academy International’s 2014 Race Camp in Silverstone. Abhinay finished third after John Muggleton of Australia and the overall winner Ricardo Sanchez of Mexico. Middle East’s Ahmed Bin-Khanen and Thailand’s Thanaroj Thanasitnitiket finished in fourth and fifth place respectively.
Mr. Kenichiro Yomura, President – Nissan India Operations said, “I congratulate Abhinay on behalf of Nissan India for his admirable performance in the GT Academy International 2014 Race Camp. His achievement is even more special as India won a spot on the podium in the final race despite having participated for the first time ever in our coveted driver discovery and development program. This indicates a great motorsports career for him in the future. With GT Academy, we at Nissan are delighted to be able to show a meaningful direction to those who aspire to take motorsports as a career but are ready to work hard for it.”
Karun Chandhok, India Judge and Mentor, said, “Abhinay did a good job, perhaps a seven out of 10 for the race. He has a lot more potential; in practice and qualifying he was really fast, I really thought he could have won but unfortunately it didn’t work out for him. But he has a lot to be proud of; he beat all his fellow countrymen and got on the podium. He should go home happy. However, I hope to see a stronger and more prolific India in motor racing in the future!”
Over the course of six days, the competitors were put through their paces both on and off track. They enjoyed some of the best racing instruction and mentoring in the world in a range of Nissan cars, including the mighty GT-R, the 370Z Nismo and 370Z race cars. Each group formed a close bond with their territory judge, who acted as a mentor, but then had to make the difficult decisions when it came to eliminations from the competition.
After some heated judges’ deliberations, it fell to GT Academy head judge Robb Barff to announce the winner on the Silverstone National podium. “I am proud of the continued globalisation of this important brand asset for Nissan and It’s great to see countries with little Motorsport heritage competing as we seek to democratise the sport”, said Darren Cox, Global head of Brand, Marketing and Sales, NISMO. “We now begin the task of developing our new international winner but alongside that we will be reviewing the winners from each of the International territories to see if we can get them more involved in motorsport in the future, as well as looking forward to welcoming even more countries to the programme next year”.