News - Nissan
Postie Matt delivers own Nissan GT racing dream
Australia Post driver goes from van to NISMO racing team after winning shootout
13 Aug 2015
BRISBANE postie and PlayStation ace Matt Simmons is set to live his dream of becoming a professional racing driver for Nissan after being crowned the 2015 GT Academy international champion at Britain’s Silverstone grand prix circuit.
The Australian was selected for the academy after blitzing rivals in an online Gran Turismo game competition.
Now, he is set to move to Europe for intensive training in readiness for his professional driving debut with NISMO in the Dubai 24 Hour GT sportscar race in January.
“To think I was delivering parcels a week ago, and now I’m going to be racing cars in Europe,” he said after taking the top step on the podium in a real-life shoot out in Nissan 370Zs against 29 other academy finalists from the United States, Turkey, North Africa, Mexico and Australia.
“I don’t think any of my work mates or family or friends really believe it,” he said. “It’s amazing, because they have been my biggest supporters and they know how much I wanted this.
“I turned my whole life around looking towards this competition. They supported me so that I could give this 110 per cent and their support has been amazing. I know they will continue to support me the whole way through this journey.”
Simmons, 26, is an Australia Post courier van driver from the Brisbane suburb of Wavell Heights.
It was his second attempt at qualifying for the GT Academy, having narrowly missed out last year after contesting the Australian final.
Simmons was mentored by Nissan V8 Supercar driver Rick Kelly who said Simmons had not won the competition by chance.
“The pressure that would have been on him would have been intense but he never broke under that pressure,” Kelly said. “No matter what activity we were in, his driving was pretty seamless.
“So it’s exciting to see someone put in so much effort and finally achieve their goals.”
Simmons started from pole in the final, but feared his chances of winning the academy and a career in motor racing were shot in the final race when the 370Z’s engine began to overheat and revert to limp-home mode.
He was passed by two other drivers, getting to the chequered flag in third place. However, academy judges declared that the car problem was not his fault, and thus named him the best driver of the academy, along with first.
During the academy race camp, the gamers were unleashed in a variety of racing machines, including single seaters and dune buggies, to test how their PlayStation skills translated into real racing.
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