Last year South Africa got its first ever GT Academy champion, Ashley Oldfield. This year, he gets to race in his first major international event, the Dubai 24 Hour, which is currently taking place in Dubai, UAE.
This is the 8th running of the event at the Dubai Autodrome, and is the first major 24-hour endurance event on the motorsport calendar. Teams from around the world are allowed to enter, and many FIA-class racecars are fielded in the event. Oldfield will be driving a GT4-spec Nissan 370Z in the SP2 class. He’ll be sharing the car, throughout the 24 hours, with former F1 driver Karun Chandhok; Australian V8 Supercars competitor James Moffat; FIA World Endurance Championship racer Tor Graves; and fellow GT Academy winner (for the Middle East), Salman al Khater.
Nissan will also field another car in the race, driven by previous winners of the GT Academy programme.
Oldfield entered the local GT Academy when it launched in South Africa in October 2012. Perfecting his technique in Gran Turismo – the PlayStation game the tournament is based on – he advanced to the semi-finals held at Kyalami in February last year. After a gruelling weekend of competition eight finalists were selected to attend the GT Academy Race Camp at Silverstone, in the UK. There, he made the cut and was given the opportunity to join Nissan’s race international programme.
The Dubai 24 Hour can be followed on Twitter using the #Dubai24 or #Dubai24h hashtags or at its official website where there is live timing and a live video stream. Oldfield can be followed on Twitter, and when he’s racing his progress can be tracked through the GT Academy Twitter account.