If your parents tell you that playing video games will never get you anywhere, point them in the direction of Lucas Ordoñez. Three years ago, Lucas heard about a competition for racing game fans - the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy. Inspired, Lucas picked up a PlayStation 3 and a copy of Gran Turismo and practised and practised and practised.
Those long hours of practice paid off, as Lucas won the competition - and the opportunity to take part in a real-world race, the Dubai 24 Hours. His run of good luck (and impressive skillz) continued - Nissan bigwigs noticed the gamer and decided to offer him another racing opportunity - not only a place on the grid for the the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, but also a start at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours.
...and this week, along with his teammates Franck Mailleux and Soheil Ayari, Lucas could not stop smiling as he stood on the Le Mans 24 Hours podium. The racing fan had finished second in class in the world-renowned race.
He took a moment to explain:
Today all of my dreams came true.
Three years ago I won an amazing prize but never in my wildest dreams did I think that it would take me all the way to the Le Mans podium. I have been on the biggest adventure you could ever imagine and I must thank Nissan and PlayStation for creating GT Academy!
I also have to thank my two teachers, Franck and Soheil, from who I have learnt so much, and of course the Signatech Nissan boss, Philippe Sinault. Finally I must thank my family and friends for putting up with me while I pursue my dream. It will take a while for this to sink in for me but so far it is the most amazing feeling.
This isn't the end of the line for Lucas, either. He's taking on the ILMC round at Imola next month.
Meanwhile, GT Academy continues, with the third season final in the works this week at England's Silverstone course. There was a brief respite for the 12 finalists, however - PlayStation took the race-fan hopefuls to Le Mans for the weekend, to get a taste of what might be, if they follow in Lucas Ordoñez's footsteps.
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I like video games and music and cups of tea and noodles and beagles and colour-cycling LEDs.
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