Nissan’s revolutionary driver discovery and development programme, GT Academy, struck gold in 2011 when it unearthed the raw talent of Jann Mardenborough.
Jann was a student on a gap year when he heard about GT Academy. He knew he was pretty handy with his PS3 but could his skills in the virtual world be transferred just as successfully onto the race track? You bet they could.
Since winning Season Three of GT Academy in June 2011 Jann has proved to be every inch the professional racing driver and one of the most exciting young racing talents to appear in recent years.
The raw talent that caught the eye of the GT Academy judges soon attracted a lot of attention from the motorsport industry. Jann’s speed was such in the British GT Championship that he was given a penalty for being “too fast”. When EVO magazine presented its Emerging Talent award to Jann they said that he was: “blessed with star quality without the swagger, abundant aptitude without the attitude, and the kind of blistering pace that makes you want to weep.”
Jann is the first GT Academy winner to race in single-seaters and in 2014 he became a GP3 race winner with Arden Motorsport, while on the Infiniti Red Bull Racing driver development programme. Away from single-seaters, Jann’s performance in the Ligier-Nissan LMP2 car at the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours was incredible.
Such is Jann’s talent the motorsport establishment became convinced that he had done a lot of karting as a child. The bad news for them is that he didn’t, in fact he went to his local kart track a total of six times over the course of a year when he was 10 years old.
In 2015 Jann completed the transition from PS3 to P1, becoming one of the first GT Academy winners to race in LMP1 for Nissan.