In the aftermath of winning his title in the Renault Sport Trophy, Andrea Pizzitola won an extraordinary prize: participation in the driver selection test organized by the official NISMO team in Super GT. In order to help him get the most out of this unique chance to become a professional race car driver, Renault Sport Technologies and NISMO employed all the existing synergies found in the Renault-Nissan Alliance to offer him the very best preparation possible. Everything began in early November with an immersion course at the GT Academy Training Camp at Silverstone.
First preparations at Silverstone
Under the guidance of the experts from the NISMO GT Academy programme, the Montpellier native underwent a tailor made fitness and psychology training session. For two days, Andrea Pizzitola went through a battery of tests, while also beginning his immersion into Japanese culture thanks to the experience acquired by 2011 GT Academy laureate Jann Mardenborough,
From the simulator to the track
At the conclusion of this phase, the Frenchman put his newly learned skills to use on the simulator. He faced two challenges: the first was to discover the legendary Fuji Speedway aboard the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500, before paying a visit to a famous Formula 1 team to concentrate on tyre management.
Andrea Pizzitola then got the chance to try on the Sparco Extrema RS-10 racing suit, especially made and given by Sparco for the occasion. When it was time to climb inside a Renault Sport R.S. 01 modified to offer similar handling to that of a GT500. Alongside the Renault Sport Technologies teams he met the day before at Ulis, the test day at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was devoted to optimizing the use of Michelin soft rubber on one lap.
The countdown begins
Tuesday, Andrea Pizzitola arrived in Japan and made the most of an adaptation period before meeting NISMO President, Shoichi Miyatani, but also the dedicated GT500 team to work out the last details concerning his driving position and some final practice on the simulator.
Friday, the selection test takes place at Fuji Speedway. Like the other rookie drivers on a quest to become a professional, Andrea Pizzitola would have two runs in a GT500 to show his talent. The first run allowed for judging his skills on a long stint, the second was to define his speed over one lap. Two regular NISMO drivers set a reference point for the rookies.
Andrea Pizzitola: “All year, I had just one goal: win the title to take part in this shoot out with NISMO. This prize was incredible motivation and I never gave up. This allowed me to win the crown at the final round. I am infinitely grateful to Renault and NISMO for this preparation programme. It allowed me to capitalize on my strengths and work intensely on other aspects. Now, it is very simple: I am a driver and I want to live my passion. To achieve this, I have to give my maximum so that NISMO can see what I can do and what I can bring them!”