The Red Bull Formula 1 team has taken Nissan GT Academy graduate Jann Mardenborough under its wing and will place him with Arden in GP3 this season.
Mardenborough won Nissan’s scheme – which gives video gamers the chance to become professional racing drivers – in 2011. He initially raced in sports cars before adding open-wheel programs in Formula 3 and the Toyota Racing Series from last season.
“I feel ready for GP3,” said the 22-year-old Briton. “I’ve prepared well and I have all the right people around me to help my development so I can fully focus on my racing.
“Formula 3 has taught me so many things, both in the car and out of the car, both mentally and physically. It was a great stage in my development and I’m sure the skills I’ve learnt there will help me in GP3 and beyond.
“I haven’t raced the GP3 car yet. But going on initial testing, I prefer the GP3 car to an F3 car. The power is very addictive!
“This season is my opportunity to impress more people in the sport who make the decisions on who makes it into F1 and who doesn’t and I’m going to give it my best shot.”
Mardenborough was sixth in British F3 last year and 13th in the European championship (pictured). He finished runner-up to Andrew Tang in this winter’s TRS.
Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert, who advises the UK finalists for the Nissan Motorsport Academy, said he was very pleased with Mardenborough’s progress.
“I have been mightily impressed with what Jann has achieved since winning GT Academy,” said Herbert. “For someone with Jann’s experience doing so well is very rare to see. Last year he raced in the European F3 series which is hell of a tough challenge during your first season; the fact that it was Jann’s first season in any kind of single-seaters is incredible. Whilst he has had a very successful first year in GT racing and he has now got an amazing result at Le Mans 24 Hours under his belt, he is competing against drivers that have grown up with seasons of karting and single-seater experience behind them.
His talent has not only impressed me, but has now got experienced figureheads in motorsport talking about what Jann, Nissan and GT Academy is achieving,” continued Herbert. “The world of motorsport is recognising that GT Academy is helping bring talented young blood into the sport. The success of Jann and other GT Academy winners is also inspiring a new legion of gaming and motorsport fans by giving them a new route to becoming a professional racing driver. The only question that remains unanswered is, ‘Can a gamer make it all the way to F1?'”