British driver Jann Mardenborough crowned GT Academy 2011 Champion
Jann will now begin an intensive Driver Development Programme and compete in a number of UK national races to enable him to qualify for an International race licence. In January, 2012 he will line up on the grid of the Dubai 24 Hour race in a Nissan 370Z GT4 car – the ultimate prize in what has become the ultimate racing competition since its inception in 2008.
Race Camp started on Friday, 10th June at the famous Le Mans 24 Hour race where the 12 super-quick gamers gathered to watch Lucas Ordoñez, winner of the first Academy, complete his journey from the virtual world of PlayStation®3 to become a real racing driver.
Lucas and his Signatech Nissan teammates – Franck Mailleux and Soheil Ayari – clearly demonstrated to the GT Academy finalists the potential of the programme when they took second place in the LMP2 class. To graduate from PlayStation gamer to the Le Mans 24H podium in less than three years is an incredible achievement.
“I am really buzzing, ecstatic,” said a jubilant Jann. “This competition is going to change my life massively. I can’t imagine, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m not sure about the next Lewis Hamilton, but being the next Lucas Ordoñez would be a pretty good start.
“This whole experience has been amazing and I would like to thank everyone involved, especially, PlayStation® and Nissan. A massive thank you to my mentor this week, Johnny Herbert. He is amazing. Such a great guy and a great teacher."
“Jann did a great job throughout and the final decision turned out to be fairly straight forward. He has been given an amazing opportunity by PlayStation® and Nissan, but the hard work has only just begun for him. Even with this head start, making a career in racing is tough and he’ll have to have talent, determination and luck in pretty much equal measure if he is to make it. I’ll keep an eye on him and hope he doesn’t let me down."