About

 

GRussell

Birthdate: 05/29/1990
Birth Place: Fairfield, California
Residence: Waldorf, Maryland
Height: 5’10
Weight: 145
Hobbies: Sim Racing, Fitness, Music

I’ve loved cars and motorsports for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I was always playing with toy cars, imagining that I would one day be the next racing legend. When I got older, I discovered racing sims; now, instead of pretending to drive, I was actually behind wheel of race cars. As a teenager, I obtained hours upon hours of seat time through Gran Turismo. Coming from a middle class family, I never had the means to race karts, and I began to accept the fact that racing at the professional level was unrealistic. In 2008, that all changed. A program called the Nissan GT Academy was announced, where the best sim racers in the world were given an opportunity to compete for a real life racing contract. I knew this was my chance to break into the world of motorsports. GT Academy was initially only available to European sim racers, but simultaneously, in US, there was another sim racing competition being held. I entered the competition and placed first, winning a trip to the World Drifting Championship in Long Beach. For the first time, I was completely immersed in the racing culture. I met pro-drifter and rallycross driver Tanner Foust, and after getting a ride in his 350z drift car, I was hooked.

In 2009, I began karting at my local track, Allsports Grand Prix — not just to satisfy my new found ‘need for speed’, but to train for GT Academy in hopes of it being available in the US. After a few short months, I was able to transform myself from a total beginner behind the wheel of a kart, to a flag-to-flag race winner against some of the fastest and most experienced karters in the D.C. area. With the friends and experience gained at Allsports, I was able to move my karting outdoors to the Summit Point Kart endurance series. By age 20, I had a number of top-5 finishes in endurance kart races, including a 2nd place finish with team Rowdy and the Hot Shoes in the annual SPK 500 endurance race. In 2010, I began gaining experience in road cars at HPDE events at Summit Point Motorsports Park.

In 2011, my training in karts and cars finally had the chance to pay off when GT Academy was announced for the US. I had continued to hone my skills in Gran Turismo, and with some on-track experience, I knew I had a good chance at going far in the competition. My sim racing experienced placed me as the fastest driver in the country during the initial stages of the competition, and won me a place in the final event at Silverstone. There, I received training from the top instructors in a world class racing school. From formula cars, to the Nissan GT-R and 370z sports cars; from karting, to drifting and rallying, the 15 other Academy participants and I were exposed to a wide variety of different vehicles and driving disciplines. After the end of the week-long course, Danny Sullivan, Tommy Kendall, and Liz Halliday selected one driver as the winner; unfortunately it wasn’t me.

I haven’t let my defeat in GT Academy dampen my spirits and intentions of racing professionally, in fact, it has made me work even harder. I have stepped up my fitness training, and have more than doubled my seat time. I am more confident in myself now than I have ever been before, and I know good things will be happening soon!

I plan to make my professional debut in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, with an ultimate goal of being a regular competitor in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Accomplishments:
2011: GT Academy North America Silverstone Finalist
Summit Point Kart SPK 500 Endurance Race – 2nd Place
2010: PCA Karting League