GTR Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi Guys,

After several requests i thought i would share with you in breif how it all began and how i became the winner of a great prize. The story is quite unbelievable and at times keep i laughing at myself so hopefully it will make good reading.

Sometime back in May i rang Phil @ Marshalls Nissan in Cambridge to see if he had any GTR's available, to cut this part short he had a cancelled order and had a Black, Black edition available. This was purchased and on my drive.(what a car)!! A few months later a email appeared on my computer would i like to drive the Nissan 370z at silverstone a quick check of the diary and i realised that the dates were 23rd September a few days before the British Superbike round. Now some people already know that i have raced bikes but that was a number of years ago infact 2002 to be precise.Never really serious as money was always a factor but did the odd few British Championship rounds on a 600.I now help a lad who rides in Superstock called Sam Warren. Back to the story i was going to be at Silverstone anyway to watch the bikes so i went down a day early to drive the 370z or so i thought. I turned up at the gate of silverstone at 08.30 on foot as i had parked in the main car park due to not being allowed in until the next day for bikes, a young lady asked me what i was doing and i told her that i was going to Nissan for a drive in the 370z.
"do you mean the Race Academy she asked"
not sure just got an invite to drive the 370z.
"i will take you in the minibus as its quite far and your late"
On the way down i heard the walkie talkie thing asking if i was on my way as everyone was waiting.When i got out the minibus the Nissan staff were all stood waiting(the meet and greet thing).One asked why was you walking, my reply was the GTR had caught fire AGAIN on the A43 and the fire brigade was putting out as we speak, you should have seen their faces it was a picture!!It was a joke.
The morning went in the order of Head to Head,370z round the southern circuit, then to drifting i just find that so hard, and finanly GTRs round the southern circuit. I couldnt believe the set up and how well the whole event was run. Until we all came back for dinner i still had no idea this was a competiton, as far as i was concerned this was just to show you how good the 370z is, and boy is it good.If i hadnt got a GTR then i would definately go for the 370z, the way it backs into the corner under braking is amazing and the power delivery is so smooth and predictable.
My scores from the morning were 24.70 for the head to head and then between 80-85% for the other disciplines. I had a bit of free dinner and then thought what a cracking morning for free, just as i had my goodie bag and was heading out the door one of the Nissan staff asked me where i was going,back to the paddock to get ready for bike racing was my answer. You need to stay for the presentation,do i, in my disbeleif i had come first throughout the morning and as you are aware invited back to the 4th November final. Couldnt believe it what i thought was a test drive turned out to be a competion that i had come first place.

Wednesday 4th November
Woke up at 5.30am had some tea and toast and set off to Silverstone, got stuck on the M1 so late AGAIN. Last in the door (apoligies if i kept anyone waiting).
Had the briefing and was told that it was going to be same format for the morning as before. I could feel the tension in the briefing room and all of a sudden this competition was getting serious.Out to the minibus and get on ready, problem is not my team and wrong minibus.Good Start!
Head to Head was up first and i find this difficult, its all about getting the car stopped at the tight bits and smooth drive out. After a couple of runs i think my time was about 3rd quickest in my group. I had the feeling that all the drivers were at a whole new level and thought to myself "just enjoy it im never going to make the final 18 so have a laugh".
Stowe circuit with the 370z was next up, i learnt the circuit pretty quick but found the 370z hard to drive with all the aids switched on.Kept cutting out but quickly learnt to straighten the steering wheel to get the power back. Again i think i scored around 83%. I knew others in my group had scored higher so a bit closer to going home at dinner.
The GTR run was next for the ARDS so i just listened to the instructor who i have to say was excellent and did the laps.Again everyone in the group was about the same level.
Drifting was the final stage for the morning. Great.... This is just so hard, learn a course in two laps and then make the car go sideways for the whole lap and not spin. I did my best but it didnt feel great, again the group all looked better than me so i thought bit of dinner and back to work in the afternoon.
Lunch came and went and then the announcement, i really couldnt believe that i had made the last 18, i was really shocked.
I was out in the first 10 minute session with the instructor who again was excellent, he gave me some pointers and said do that and you will be OK.
10 Minute qualifying went well, i could tell i had put a few good laps together and i was catching the cars in front.When i got out the GTR brakes were on fire and i mean on fire proper flames.Thought they went a bit spongy towards the end.A few toilet trips later and getting warm in my car the results were out, i had qualified 2nd with a 42.76 the pole man had done a 42.70.
The semi finals were announced and the Nissan guy told me that we was using manual left hand drive 370z with all aids turned off and doing Stowe backwards. Wonderfull... Just learnt the circuit one way, never drove manual 370z and left hand drive as well Cant wait... Got a reasonable start and just kept it smooth and made no mistakes. 5 laps later and i had won the semi final by 9 seconds. Im in the FINAL.
Holy shit this is it. sat on the grid, they have now told us to go back the proper way round the track."im dizzy" 5 laps to go and you could be Nissan Race Academy Champion 2009.
Got some wheel spin this time,sun in my eyes and it started to rain, where are the wipers!!! This time the track was greasy and the car was spinning up easy, had a few moments and the other finalist pushed me for the first three laps, i was trying to judge where he was compared to me and had to keep telling myself to stop looking and concentrate on keeping the car in straightline. After 5 hard laps the chequred flag was out.I knew it was close but when i got back they announced that i had won the race.(brakes on fire again)Whoops. I didnt know what to say with all the cameras in my face, It is stuff of dreams and you cant quite believe it. The whole 36 competitors were great drivers they wouldnt have been there else, the final 18 were amazing all the times were so close.

So as you can see from what i thought was a 370z test drive turned out to be a great moment in my life. Winning a drive for Nissan!!!!

All the best and keep in touch

Craig Currie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
well done craig!my first ever post on this site and wanted to congratulate you on your win.i was also happy to be invited back to the race academy final.great day.i went with the intension of just enjoying myself but found myself in the last eighteen!great more driving in the gtr and this time on our own!ten mins driving as fast as we can to get into the final four.i was the guy that just pipped you on that one which for me was a big wow!did"nt expect it but very happy to be in the final group of four.remmember we had to pose infront of the 370zs thats when it sunk in wow it could be me!then back to earth with a bump when i blew it on the face offs in the 370zs and came 4th.best driver won it on the day.good on you graig.will be watching your progress next year with great interest!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
well done craig!my first ever post on this site and wanted to congratulate you on your win.i was also happy to be invited back to the race academy final.great day.i went with the intension of just enjoying myself but found myself in the last eighteen!great more driving in the gtr and this time on our own!ten mins driving as fast as we can to get into the final four.i was the guy that just pipped you on that one which for me was a big wow!did"nt expect it but very happy to be in the final group of four.remmember we had to pose infront of the 370zs thats when it sunk in wow it could be me!then back to earth with a bump when i blew it on the face offs in the 370zs and came 4th.best driver won it on the day.good on you graig.will be watching your progress next year with great interest!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Hi Silver,
That was an excellent time in the GTR in qualifying.I remember the photoshoot with the 370z, i think you had gone for a toilet break to start with and we were all freezing!!! What happened in the semi final? Craig
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
hi again graig.yeah in the semis the lovely chaps at the race academy put a joker in the pack and got us to drive the track arse about face,but hey ho same for everybody but i blew it and went off the black stuff.370zs not the best for offroading!surreal experience with all those camaras around.thats something thats going to be a big part of your life now graig!a great prize from nissan and a worthy winner.well done you,be seeing you on the telly!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,031 Posts
Press Release

Being a motoring journalist and all, I get daily motoring press releases and look what popped into my inbox last night:

"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
9 November 2009

MISSION COMPLETE: NISSAN TOP GUN DRIVER NAMED

•A thrilling conclusion to Nissan Race Academy 2009 crowns this year’s Top Gun driver
•Craig Currie from Newark, Nottinghamshire had the driving skills to see off all challengers
•Winning driver came out on top in gruelling series of contests and drives away with a full racing season in the Dunlop Sport Maxx Cup
•This year Race Academy students were both Nissan 370Z and GT-R drivers
It’s the end of term at the ultimate high performance driving school, and everyone had their eyes on one prize – the title of Nissan Top Gun driver of 2009. Following intensive training and nail-biting competition, one driver has crossed the line first in the Nissan Race Academy 2009.

Craig Currie from Newark, Nottinghamshire, has taken the top podium position in Nissan’s nail-biting Race Academy final. Set up to both excite and educate the drivers of Nissan’s high performance models, the Race Academy opened its doors free of charge to buyers of both 370Z and GT-R models. To display the most extreme abilities of these thrillers in controlled conditions, drivers took the wheel and enjoyed the superb facilities of the home of British motor racing, Silverstone, under the watchful eye of some of the fastest instructors in the country.

With over 600 drivers enrolling in the Academy this year, only one would come out on top. The hot shoe driver from each Race Academy session was invited back to take part in a clash of the mighty Nissan driving titans to find the one and only Top Gun 2009.

Cheered on at the final by wife Vicky, it was Craig Currie that took the title. The owner of Midland Skip Hire bought a GT-R in May, not only giving himself high octane thrills on tap but also gaining entry to the Academy. But Craig’s no stranger to the track as he is already a keen bike racer, taking part in the 600 Supersport and Superstock series.

Not knowing just how serious the Race Academy was, he was expecting a quick demo of Nissan’s high performance range, but got a whole lot more than he bargained for when he found himself behind the wheel at Silverstone and competing with other drivers. After coming top on his qualifying day, Craig’s entry to the final was guaranteed.

He was truly amazed to come back to the shoot-out and win – he was expecting a memorable day out and didn’t even expect to get through the morning heats. However he made it through to the semi-finals and then went on to become the overall winner.
And the intensive training has come at the perfect moment for Craig. He can’t wait to “get stuck in and have a good race”, and is keen to make the transition from bikes to cars. What better start to a four-wheeled competition career than a full race season in the Dunlop Sport Maxx Cup driving a specially prepared Nissan 370Z?

ends…

Note to editors:

•Initially set up to give GT-R customers the chance to experience the full capabilities of Nissan’s supercar up to 12 months ahead of taking delivery of their own car, the Race Academy was a huge hit in its debut year of 2008. An amazing 98% of the participants rated it as the best manufacturer driving event they have ever been on, and the thrills were enhanced for 2009 with the addition of the 370Z to the Academy’s garage.
Nissan in the UK

•Nissan is the biggest new car producer in Britain
•Over 26 per cent (1 in 4 cars) produced in 2008 came out of Sunderland Plant
•Nissan Sunderland Plant has a workforce of 3,900
•Micra, Note, Qashqai and Qashqai+2 are all produced at Sunderland Plant
•1 in every 6 cars built in the UK last year was a Qashqai
•UK is Nissan’s biggest market in Europe
•Over 80 per cent of production is exported to 45 markets worldwide
•NMUK has been named as the biggest UK car plant for the past 11 years, and the biggest exporter for the last 9 years
•Sunderland Plant has just received a Queen's Award for Export , the fourth received since the plant opened in 1986
•The plant built its 5 millionth car in June 2008
•Nissan’s European design centre is located in Paddington, London and employs around 50 people
•Nissan’s European Technical Centre is based in Cranfield, Bedfordshire and employs around 750 people "
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,031 Posts
It doesn't say anywhere that he was paid to race, i.e. professional, and anyway that was bikes!

The Caterham Academy excluded anyone who had taken an ARDS test, but even then I think Craig would have been ok?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,829 Posts
Well Done Craig, I was going to do it, but then Caroline (Nissan Motors) persuaded me not to win !!LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Hi,

First of all a massive massive thankyou for all your words of encouragement above, im really overwhelmed with the response.I have used this site for info since getting my GTR and think its the best forum so "long live the site"...
Just to touch on my motorcycle racing days the last time i raced a bike was 2002, i was never part of a team and it was all self funded.Most of it was club meetings and then i did 1x125cc British meeting in 1998 and 2 x600 British Supersport meetings in 2001 both finishing about midfield or towards the back. Actually i think since 2002 ive done 3 trackdays on a bike, never done any trackdays in a saloon car.
Finally ive got an oppurtunity to race a 370z for Nissan with a top team behind me and im going to give my all, ive now got a whole roll cage around me and cannot highside myself into oblivion, no more broken bones and no more concussion. Happy Days!!!!!
Craig
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top