GT Academy Graduate Jann Mardenborough Wins GP3 Race at German Grand Prix
Virtual-to-reality, gamer-to-racer, sim-to-win - call it what you like! Jann Mardenborough showed the world he has got what it takes to win in GP3 at the weekend, against the cream of the crop of single-seater racing talent. A polished and composed drive from pole position saw Jann take the chequered flag for Arden International as the winner of race two at Hockenheim, just hours before the Formula One cars took to the track for the German Grand Prix.
Mardenborough was a student on a gap year when he won the 2011 Nissan PlayStation GT Academy competition. Since then he has been a model student of Nissan’s driver development programme and become an incredible professional racing driver. Just over a month ago his performance at the Le Mans 24 Hours caused a great deal of excitement and in Hockenheim he took everything he has learnt and turned it into victory in GP3, the series for aspiring Formula One drivers.
“I learnt at the British race at Silverstone that I need to look after my tyres,” said Jann. “Since then the team has worked hard with me, both at the workshop and in the Red Bull simulator. During race one I started 14th but worked hard to manage my tyre wear and sure enough when some of the others ‘fell off the cliff’ I was able to get up to eight place, which I was very pleased about. The tyre wear on Saturday was amplified by the heat so it was good that the team had drilled all this information into me and I was able to manage the situation.”
Eighth place in race one means pole position for race two. Jann is known for having a very cool head when under pressure and during race two it showed. He controlled the race from the front like the true professional he is.
“I got a good start and was able to control the pace,” he explained. “I could push when I wanted to push and ease off when I wanted to. It feels so good to win. The only time I ever drink Champagne is when I win a race – not a podium finish, only a win - and I haven’t tasted it since February so it tasted good today! I call it Winner’s Juice!”
To complete the perfect day, Jann also took the fastest lap of the race.
GT Academy 2014 getting serious around the globeGT Academy is now in its sixth year and continues to unearth incredible raw talent. This year’s national finals have now taken place around the world as GT Academy expands to ever more countries. The famous ‘Race Camp’ has already taken place at Silverstone for the German version of the Academy. Meanwhile, the European Race Camp runs from 29 July to 6 August and will feature 42 competitors of Europe’s most talented Gran Turismo 6 gamers from 12 countries.
European Race Camp is followed by a new international grouping that includes competitors from Thailand, Mexico, Australia, India and the Middle East. Next up, the Americans will move into the ‘home of British motorsport’ for the final Race Camp of 2014. All of the competitors will be desperate to show they have what it takes to follow in Jann’s footsteps. But winning GT Academy will just be the beginning.
“The training and support we get after winning GT Academy is amazing,” said Jann. “For me to get to this level in single seaters just shows how good the programme is. It’s not a case of winning GT Academy and just going racing at all. They push us hard, every day. I keep learning and progressing all the time and today’s result proves that it works.”
The GT Academy winners from Germany, Europe, the USA and the international group will immediately be thrust into the comprehensive Nissan Driver Development Programme with a view to racing in the international Dubai 24 Hours Race in January, 2015. Those with enough talent and determination may get the chance to compete as NISMO Athletes.