Matt's Story

Follow Nissan PlayStation GT Academy winner Matt Simmons' incredible story, from gamer to racer

 
 
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"I've wanted to be a racing driver since I was a kid"

Matt's Journey

Matt's journey to pro racing driver started in his native Brisbane, as an 8-year-old, playing Gran Turismo 2 on his PlayStation before honing his skills with the rest of the Gran Turismo series.

"From there I never looked back! I played each game in the series, completing it and becoming a serious fan of Gran Turismo"

Matt was working as a postage driver before competing and qualifying to represent Australia in the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy International 2015 series, leading him on an epic journey from gamer to pro racing driver.  

 
 

"I was so excited about the idea that simulation could produce real racers"

Winning GT Academy 2015

Thirty competitors headed to Silverstone circuit in the UK to spend a week at Race Camp, during which the racing hopefuls took part in a series of both racing and physical challenges.

"Race camp was crazy, you get shipped with 5 fellow Aussies to the other side of the world to compete for your dream - racing against the best in the business"

They were thrown in the deep end on day one, getting behind the wheel of single seater Caterham racers, Nissan GT-Rs and JPLM cars, followed by numerous other challenges to decided the starting grid for the final race. The final was an epic eight-lap race around Silverstone’s National Circuit in Nissan 370Z NISMO race cars.

Matt started from pole position and ultimately became the judges choice for GT Academy International 2015 champion.

"I honestly couldn’t believe it. You dream of this but it actually happening was surreal! I don’t think I fully processed that I won the competition until I was starting my racing career in the Driver Development program"
 
 

"Driving iconic race tracks as a driver is truly a dream come true"

In the Driving Seat

Now part of the prestigious Driver Development Programme (DDP) with NISMO, Matt is completing his journey from gamer to professional race driver, succesfully completing his first race in the Blancpain Endurance race at Monza in 2016.

"My life has been flipped on its head!  I get to travel the world and race cars on the weekend. I feel very privileged to be in this position with racing for Nissan NISMO and representing Australia on the world motorsport stage as well."

Matt has embarked on a second season in the Blancpain Endurance Series this year, piloting the Nissan GT-R GT3, and moving up to the pro ranks in the process. 

 
 

"I now train on GT Sport"

GT Sport - The real racing simulator

Now stepping back in to the Gran Turismo series as a profession racing driver, Matt has described how it feels to get behind the wheel in the latest edition of Gran Turismo - GT Sport. 

"The feedback in GT Sport is another step-up and it naturally brings out how I drive a real racecar"

"GT Sport bringing the best and fastest cars to FIA certified online tournaments is really exciting as well. All in all, I think GT Sport will bring out world-class competition that I hope to get involved with, if I get the chance"

 
 

"The noticeable difference with GT Sport has to be the visuals"

Driving innovation with GT Sport

Gran Turismo has always been at the forefront of gaming innovation, and the latest edition will bring racing in dynamic 4K and HDR to PS4 Pro. Have the visual upgrades impressed Matt?

"Looking at racetracks like Bathurst and Nürburgring, you can see the lighting and visuals have improved significantly with dynamic 4K and HDR effects on PS4 Pro"

GT Sport also features a VR mode which according to Matt is "the closest thing you can get to actually stepping into a Nissan GTR"

And does Matt have any advice for people jumping into GT Sport when it is released? - "just don’t forget to drive the GTR GT3 when you get your copy"

 
 

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