Video Gamer Earns Place on GP3 Pro Motor Racing Team

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Video game star, Jann Mardenborough who won a PlayStation PS3 video games console motor racing simulation contest, has earned a place on Red Bull’s Christian Horner’s Ardent GP3 2014 motor racing team.

In 2011, Jann Mardenborough from Cardiff, Wales, Great Britain, entered the Nissan and Sony GT Academy Competition. GT Academy is an event whereby contestants play the PS3 motor racing simulation game, Gran Tourismo to win a chance of becoming a professional motor racing driver. Jann Mardenborough beat off 90,000 hopefuls to win the prize.

Jann Mardenborough GT Academy National Finals
Jann Mardenborough at GT Academy National Finals

Drivers seeking a professional career in motor racing usually start to learn how to race cars from a young age through karting. Serious karting however requires many years of very heavy investment. The high costs of karts, equipment and competition fees puts even a chance of becoming a motor racer out of reach for most except the wealthy.

Nissan and Sony however have realised that video gamers who excel at driving simulation games seem to have the necessary technical skills to compete in real racing cars at top levels. GT Academy was set up to find the very best motor racing simulation drivers in the World and has, as hoped found some very promising young drivers. Drivers such as Jann Mardenborough who would never have had the chance to begin a racing career due to the high costs of karting now have another avenue into the world of motor sports. All they need is a video games console, hours of game time and a lot of natural ability.

In order to make the transition from video gamer’s armchair to motor sports driver’s seat, Jann Mardenborough and six remaining contestants had to complete a gruelling physical training regime delivered by the Marines. Then, the final test to open the door to a career in motor sports was a to race a Nissan 370z car at the Silverstone racetrack in UK against the other contestants. Jann Mardenborough won the race.

Since winning the GT Academy tournament, Jann Mardenborough has gone from strength to strength and has progressed through the stages of motor sports. Starting with the 2011 GT4 European Cup where he ranked 26th and then coming 6th in the 2012 British GT Championship, Jann has worked his way up to GP3 racing which is only 2 levels below the prized Formula One.

Arden GP3 Racing Car 2013
Arden GP3 Racing Car 2013

Jann Mardenborough’s has made some notable achievements since breaking away from the virtual world of PS3 gaming into the real world of GP3 racing. These have included a podium finish of 3rd place in the 2013 Le Mans 24hr LMP2 Class endurance race in France and 6th place in the 2013 British F3 International Series. It has been said that for someone who had so little experience in racing real cars before GT Academy, Jann Mardenborough’s performances have been outstanding.

Route to GP3

2014 Toyota Racing Series New Zealand
2013 European F3 Championship (21st)
Toyota Racing Series New Zealand (10th)
British F3 International Series (6th)
Blancpain Endurance Series (14th)
World Endurance Championship LMP2 (12th)
Le Mans 24hr class LMP2 class (3rd)
RTL GP Masters of F3 (13th)
World Endurance Championship (32nd)
2012 British GT Championship (6th)
2011 GT4 European Cup
GT Academy Tournament
Jann Mardenborough Le Mans LMP2
Jann Mardenborough with his Le Mans LMP2

The step up to GP3 is very significant since GP3 races are held on the same weekends and on the same circuits as F1 racing. This means that Jann will have the eyes of F1 scouts from Ferrari, Lotus McClaren and Red Bull upon him… In the words of Jann Mardenborough, “It’s big boy time”.

Interesting Facts :

  1. Unlike most racing drivers, Jann Mardenborough has very little karting experience. He began karting at eight years of age but his local track closed when he was eleven years. His family did not have the budget to continue his racing career, so he had to stop competing in karts
  2. Between 1982 and 2003, Jann’s dad, Steve Mardenborough was a professional football / soccer player. He scored against Liverpool FC whilst playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1984.


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