Nissan Philippines Inc. (NPI) wrapped up its search for racing drivers last August 27 to 28, 2016 at the SM Aura activity center. The event was the last chance for all aspiring participants to square off with the best racing times for a ticket to a professional racing career.
Adding excitement to the final recruitment day was the Nissan GT Academy Celebrity Challenge, where two of the country’s top young athletes went toe-to-toe against each other’s team in a battle of driving skills in the virtual pods.
Top-billed by Arnold Van Opstal as the team captain for Team Green, the former De La Salle University Green Archer big man led his teammates from the media Vince Pornelos (C! Magazine and Autoindustriya) and Chira Dela Cruz (Top Gear) to victory with a total time of 4:12.408 as they went up against former Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagle Von Pessumal and his media teammates Iñigo Roces (Manila Bulletin) and Aries Espinosa (Business World). Team Green’s Vince Pornelos was also named as the Celebrity Challenge’s Most Valuable Racer, with his time clocking in at 1:22.934.
The Top Twenty players on the leaderboards will vie for the Final Six slots. They are:
Kendrick D. Asensi, Francisco F. Adriano, Luis Antonio P. Moreno, Rodolfo D. Faustino, Gabriel N. Senires, Rabboni John C. Buenaventura, Timothy S. Melendrez, Rainier Martin D. Consulta, Elysse T. Menorca, Eduardo S. Suiza III, Kim Jiger A. Chong, Jan Millard U. Lacuna, Nowl Michael B. Pinili, Tristan Erickson G. Suante, King Judge David A. Chong, Mervin John D. Mallen, Richard Dean D. Jose, Wilfredo John D. Pacres, Carlo Adriano D. Acosta, and Gether Angelo V. Quintos.
Pending final medical screenings and validation of the players’ performance and times logged, this list is still subject to change.
For more details on the Nissan GT Academy, visit www.nissan.ph/gtacademy and the Nissan Philippines Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NissanPhilippinesInc.
Photos by NissanPH and Neil Pagulayan