Jann Mardenborough to race in F3 Championship
After just a single year in racing, the youngest winner of the Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy Jann Mardenborough is making the move to Formula 3.
The 2011 GT Academy winner will race in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship with Carlin, having had an incredible first year with Nissan in the British GT Championship in 2012.
Darren Cox, Nissan’s Director of Global Motorsports, explains the decision behind the latest step in Jann’s development: “Putting Jann into a Formula 3 seat is the perfect way to fast track his education in downforce cars. As with all of the GT Academy graduates, Jann will at some point compete at Le Mans in an LMP2 car. After competing for a season in the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 car, racing in F3 is going to teach him everything he needs to know about running with downforce, readying him for LMP2. Look at all the top prototype drivers of today – McNish, Wurz, Davidson, Lotterer – they all learned their craft in single-seaters.
Jann has completed just one full season of GT racing so we don’t expect him to go out there and compete on equal terms with drivers who started karting before they started wearing long trousers. He is going out there to learn and any good results will be a bonus.
We chose Carlin as we believe they are the best team out there and we want Jann to learn from the best in the business."
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
What happens after F3 for Jann?
Our driver development programme is unique in that our drivers are not tied to a particular category of racing. F3 will prepare Jann for racing prototypes and he will also continue to race our GT cars but we shouldn’t forget that single-seater racing is how most of the Super GT drivers, Le Mans Prototype professionals and even top GT drivers, learned their trade.
Will Jann just race in F3 this year?
We will announce Jann’s full 2013 programme in due course. GT3 in NISMO GT-R’s is the focus for the Academy Graduates (NISMO athletes) this year – we want to focus on the link to road cars ahead of the launch of NISMO GT-R.
Is Jann doing Le Mans this year?
We will announce Jann’s full 2013 programme in due course. Our aim is to support Le Mans strongly as we have big news to announce there and must deliver a consistent message to the influential fans that attend the event after our huge success there in 2012.
Do you expect Jann to compete at the front in F3?
Absolutely not. He is competing against drivers who have raced single seaters for many years so we can’t expect him to go out there and win. This is only Jann’s second full season of racing. He is there to learn but having said that he is a very competitive character and he won’t be happy until he starts to get results. That’s what we like about him.
Is Jann the ‘best of the bunch’ from the GT Academy graduates?
All of our winners are exceptionally talented individuals and it would be hard to say who is the best as they are all at different points in the learning curve. Jann certainly raised a few eyebrows last year and caught the attention of the media and the motorsport industry, especially with his performances in British GT. Jann has the twin advantage of being our youngest graduate and also arriving at a time when our development programme was maturing.
Why have you placed Jann with Carlin and not T-Sport who run the ThreeBond Nissan engine?
We want Jann to be educated by the best team and we believe that team is Carlin. The Nissan engine is not an official NISMO project.
Jann is a winner of Nissan’s GT Academy competition yet he is ‘powered by Volkswagen’ in 2013. How can that make sense?
It makes sense to us. Our decision was based on choosing the right package for Jann’s development, not just the engine choice. Outside of his F3 commitments Jann will of course continue to race Nissan race cars or Nissan-powered prototypes. NDDP NISMO drivers in Japan have raced in non Nissan engined F3 cars for many years.
Why have you put Jann in F3 when you didn’t do the same for Lucas Ordoñez or Jordan Tresson?
We constantly refine our driver development programme and we think this is a great way to fast track Jann’s development. If we decide to put him in an LMP2 car at Le Mans this summer he will be ready, despite not having had the running time that Lucas and Jordan have had in LMP2.
Isn’t F3 an expensive way to learn about racing cars with downforce?
No. By the very nature of Endurance Racing you have to share your car with team mates. This and the complex nature of Le Mans Prototypes makes Euro per Mile costs lower per driver in F3 than LMP2. Carlin for example will take 4 cars to a test, therefore sharing the sunk costs of the team across 4 cars. LMP2 teams usually test with one car meaning the costs have to be bourne by that car alone. Nissan in Europe have always delivered industry leading costs for their Motorsport programmes.
Is it true that Jann competed in the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand recently?
Yes it is. The series gave Jann a good taster of what to expect in European F3 and served as a fantastic winter training programme. He experienced the highs and lows of single-seater racing in New Zealand and has come back with a whole new chapter of knowledge.