From sofa to race track for Doncaster man

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A Doncaster man who loves racing cars on his computer could soon be competing for real on a racing circuit.

Shane Green will move a step closer to racing reality with GT Academy when he joins five other UK PlayStation racers at the European final, hoping to win the top prize of racing for Nissan at the Dubai 24 Hours event in January.

Shane, aged 29, an IT analyst, has qualified for the European final of the virtual-to-reality NISMO PlayStation GT Academy after taking part in the UK national finals at the world famous Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire.

He was one of six of the country’s fastest and most talented Gran Turismo 6 gamers that emerged victorious from the field of 28 contenders taking part in the motorsport talent spotting contest.

Almost 290,000 gamers from around Europe entered the 2014 GT Academy competition.

The UK’s leading 28 contestants took part in a series of Gran Turismo 6 gaming time trials, real-life driving challenges in a Nissan Juke NISMO, gruelling fitness tests and an interview session with experienced journalists to see how they react in the media spotlight.

Their scores were tallied up throughout the day to decide the top six who would progress to the week-long international final, also at Silverstone, next week.

Shane, of Newmarket Road, Cantley, was one of the winners and will have to prepare for an uncompromising boot camp for aspiring racing drivers, where the focus is then put on real driving skill challenges to determine who has what it takes.

As the week progresses only one of the six Brits will make it through to the final race, where they will face competitors from 11 other countries.

Shane is eagerly looking forward to Race Camp, but is still waiting for it to sink in that his efforts have paid off.

He said: “There are no words to explain how I’m feeling!
“The last three years have been really hard work for me, coming from 21 stone and now I’m a finalist of GT Academy.

“It’s just unbelievable to be honest. It’s not sunk in yet. I keep asking someone to punch me but I don’t seem to have any volunteers!”

The road to success for past winner of competition

Shane hopes to follow in the footsteps of Jann Mardenborough, who became the first British winner of GT Academy in 2011. Jann’s career is becoming nothing short of a fairytale. In his first year racing with Nissan, he was awarded the Rising Star status by the British Racing Drivers’ Club, following impressive pole positions and race wins in the 2012 British GT Championship. With a Le Mans podium under his belt and a switch to the highly-competitive 2013 FIA European Formula 3 Championship, Jann was rewarded this year with a drive in the Formula One feeder series GP3 with Red Bull Racing-backed Arden Motorsport, and has already scored his first GP3 win.