Nissan India had selected a few Indians for its GT Academy, which would take place in Silverstone. Among them was Bangalore's Abhinay Bikkani, who secured a podium finish in the final race organised by Nissan GT Academy International Race Camp 2014.
Abhinay Bikkani stood third overall and was close to John Muggleton of Australia. The winner in first place was Ricardo Sanchez from Mexico. The Indian contenders were mentored by Karun Chandhok, former Formula One driver and current Formula E racer.
Kenichiro Yomura, President Nissan India Operations expressed, "I congratulate Abhinay on behalf of Nissan India for his admirable performance in the GT Academy International 2014 Race Camp."
He further added, "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."
The finalists of Nissan GT Academy had the rare opportunity of practicing in the Japanese manufacturer's popular vehicles. They had to drive the Nissan GT-R, 370Z Nismo along with the 370Z race prepped vehicle.
We asked Abhinay Bikkani a few questions regarding his triumphant podium finish and this is what he had to say.
Q. We hear the bootcamp is a difficult challenge, how did you cope with it?
A. For 2014 Nissan shortened the bootcamp, however, it was still the hardest thing done in my life. It tests you mentally as well as physically and surprisingly I finished last.
Q. Do you prefer Formula One or Endurance racing and who would you like to race?
A. I am a big Formula One fan and have been following it since my childhood. My idol is Aryton Senna, however, from the modern era I personally like Lewis Hamilton and would like racing with him in the old V8 machinery.
Q. How much did you learn from your mentor Karun Chandhok?
A. Karun is an amazing individual, when you get to meet him personally it is an altogether different experience. He had important points for me as it was my first time around the Silverstone circuit.
Q. What is your advice for participants of the next Nissan GT Academy in India?
A. Start playing more on the Playstation with Gran Turismo 6. The transition from virtual to reality is a bit difficult, however, you can learn a lot from the game. Also start training for physical activities as the camp will test you both mentally as well as physically. Being fit is very important.
Q. What after this, what's the future plan?
A. As of now nothing is sure, currently will be heading back to Bangalore to compete in a local championship. Will have to wait and see if Nissan has anything planned.
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