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Keishi Ayukai at Nissan's GT Academy - Photo: Supplied

Keishi Ayukai at Nissan’s GT Academy – Photo: Supplied

What happens when you get called up to represent Australia in the 2016 Nissan GT Academy International Final and don’t win? Well for Keishi Ayukai, it meant moving to Canada in pursuit of his racing ambitions.

Now living in backpacker hostels and camping at race tracks, Ayukai, has invested his life savings into perusing his dream of racing career.

But why Canada? According to the man himself, the main reason was money. With a modest budget of just $30,000, the Nissan Micra Cup was the most cost effective way for Ayukai to go racing at a competitive level. Even with the expense buying a race car and uprooting his life to make the move Canada.

The Nissan Micra Cup offered a much cheaper option to go racing in a highly competitive one make series to what was on offer locally in Australia. Roughly half the price of running in the Toyota 86 Racing Series.

Keishi Ayukai's 3rd place trophy with his Nissan Micra - Photo: Supplied

Keishi Ayukai’s 3rd place trophy with his Nissan Micra – Photo: Supplied

That said, like all racing car drivers trying to make their name in the sport, he is still on the lookout for more sponsors. While some local support in Canada from SolidXperts has helped Ayukai compete in the first round For the most part he is still digging into his savings to make his dream a reality.

It’s not the first time that Ayukai has dug deep to make his dream of becoming a professional race car driver a reality.

Desperate to make his dream come true, he borrowed a Playstation to contest the 2015 GT Academy qualifiers, making it through to the Australian Final on his first attempt. Learning from this experience, he went one step further in 2016 representing Australia at the GT Academy International Final in the UK and competing for a professional NISMO contract.

Since making the move to Canada, Ayukai has impressed in the next step in making his dream a reality.

During the opening round of the Nissan Micra Cup at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Ontario, he showcased his talent with a third and fourth place finish in each of the two races last weekend.

Keishi Ayukai on the podium in Canada - Photo: Supplied

Keishi Ayukai on the podium in Canada – Photo: Supplied

After the race meeting Ayukai was happy with his performance, “If it wasn’t for the timing of the yellow flags in both races, I could have been in 2nd in the championship, but I’m content to come out of my first weekend in the Micra Cup with the Race 1 podium and know I’m immediately on the pace of drivers with previous Micra Cup experience at Mosport including the 2015 & 2016 champions.”

Next round of the championship is this weekend (May 26-28) at Mount Tremblant in Quebec with another 2 races.