From lounge room to the home straight

MATTHEW Gordon's life could soon change forever - and it's all thanks to his favourite PlayStation game.

Josh Warwick

MATTHEW Gordon's life could soon change forever - and it's all thanks to his favourite PlayStation game.

The 25-year-old is on track to achieve his dream of becoming a racing driver after his skills on computer game Gran Turismo 5 won him a chance to compete in a world renowned endurance race.

Matthew's skill on the joy pad has earned him a place at a four-day training camp at the Silverstone circuit.

Should he finish in the top two of the 36 European hopefuls taking part, he will be coached to compete in the 2009 Dubai International 24 Hour Endurance Race driving a Nissan 350Z.

The lawn care worker said: “For someone who's been into racing all their lives, to be given a chance via playing on a PlayStation is amazing.

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“It could change my life.”

His journey started when he took part in an online Playstation competition to complete a circuit in the quickest possible time on the Gran Turismo game.

Finishing in the top 20 in the UK, he was invited to the finals at the Motor Show in London where he scooped first place - and a spot at the Silverstone training camp.

Matthew and the two other UK qualifiers will be pitted against fellow competitors from across Europe, racing high-powered cars, and undergoing physical, mental and medical tests.

Should he finish in the top two, Matthew, from Barham, will then go on to a four-month intensive course to gain first a national driving licence and then an international licence.

He said: “A lot of people spend their lives on computer games but I can't do that.

“I have always been into driving simulators but I genuinely couldn't believe it when I won.

“Now the PlayStation stuff is over and the virtual becomes tarmac at Silverstone.

“We will be driving several different vehicles to try to set fast lap times, one of which will be the Nissan GT-R, which is four-wheel drive and can hit speeds of 190mph.

“All I can do is concentrate on my own physical fitness.

“I'm really excited. I was very nervous at the motor show but now I'm just looking forward to it.

“I have been into racing ever since I was ten. I have never had the money to go and do it for real which is why this opportunity is fantastic.

“If I get offered the chance I would give up my job without any hesitation.”

Are you embarking on a new challenge? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Dubai 24 hour endurance:

The first Dubai race was staged in 2006, and was the first of its kind to ever take place in the Middle East.

It takes place at the Dubai Autodrome.

The first race was won by Austrian Duller Motorsport, managing 519 laps in the 24 hours.

The most famous 24 hour endurance race is Le Mans in France.

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