GT Academy ’11 Champions Finish Development Program, Ready for Dubai

November 22nd, 2011 by Jordan

European winner of the 2011 GT Academy, Jann Mardenborough, and his American counterpart Bryan Heitkotter, completed the final race of their intensive five-month ‘Driver Development Programme’ on Saturday 19 November. Competing in the Britcar MSA British Endurance Championship race at Brands Hatch, the pair recorded a notable first-in-class finish (fifth place overall) in their RJN Motorsport run Nissan 370Z GT4 race car. The result moves them ever closer to achieving their main goal of competing in the Dubai International 24 Hour race in January, 2012.

The GT Academy alliance between Nissan and PlayStation, has already unearthed championship winning drivers Lucas Ordoñez and Jordan Tresson. Jann and Bryan are now set to follow in their footsteps and their Brands Hatch performance acted as a rewarding rehearsal ahead of the duo’s Middle East adventure. The Britcar ‘Into The Night’ three-hour endurance contest started in the light of day, ran through dusk and finished in total darkness.

Driving against a strong field, they qualified second-in-class, in 14th position overall. The team got off to a great start with Bryan courageously fighting his way through the field, climbing eight places in the first one hour session.  Jann responded by delivering a faultless display, putting in fast, consistent lap times throughout his session. Before the driver changeover, Jann had climbed three places to take the Nissan 370Z to third place overall. Bryan took the wheel again and settled back into a good rhythm to record a first-in-class, fifth place overall finish for the GT Academy team.

Jann has now completed his transition from virtual champion to real racing driver. “It was a useful opportunity to develop my technique of using visual reference points in the dark to navigate around the circuit. It’s proved a valuable lesson, which I can now take to Dubai. I can’t believe how quickly the last five months have gone during my driver development programme. I loved every minute of it. I can take a lot of confidence from today’s result and I’m massively looking forward to Dubai.”

“One hundred percent mission accomplished,” said RJN Motorsport team boss Bob Neville. “We were a little bit unlucky at one point, because the safety car picked us up instead of the leader, which cost us a place. Nevertheless, both drivers drove brilliantly in the dark and it’s been a faultless performance by the pair. We can now start looking forward to Dubai. Jann and Bryan will be arriving in tip top condition and they could not be in a better position to take on such a competitive race.”

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  1. nitrorocks

    Yeah! It’s about time we get some Americans over to the lesser known endurance races! To my knowledge, I donth think any Americans have ran in the 24 hour series.

  2. schism70

    Outstanding! Go get ‘em, boys.

  3. TokoTurismo

    Congratulations guys. :) Really love to hear how well you came through. ;) Congratz again!

  4. Congrats to you guys!

  5. MexicanPenguin

    Well done gents.

    On a side note, how likely would an appearance for this car and the Dubai circuit be before January 2012 to let the lads get some practice in?

    • redreevos

      Awesome stuff Jann and Bryan. Congratulations on your accomplishments and your hard work. It is truly awesome for this sim racer to see what can be accomplisihed. You are strong part of our community. Thank you for increasing the possibility of future GT Academies. Hopefully one day, another few of us will get to join you on track :tup:

    • SZRT Ice

      I may be late on this but, what’s “:tup:”?

    • :tup: inserts the “thumbs up” smiley in forum posts, but they do not display in blog post comments.

  6. African Kat

    Following this story with great interest, well done guys!

  7. shadowtsunami

    Sony and PD put this car in GT5

  8. I thought it actually looked like VIR for a second there, but there’s a bit of Autumn Ring about it

  9. sebby10100

    Awsome job lads

  10. PlainBlandMan

    To confuse the track in the first picture for the fictional Autumn Ring goes to show how close Gran Turismo’s graphics are to real life.

  11. Good work guys. Try to bring home the cup at the 24hr.

  12. Congratulation to both Jann and Bryan. I’ve been watching the US GT Academy shows on Youtube (the same ones that were shown earlier on Speed Channel). Pretty entertaining.

  13. joetruckv8

    Yea i agree i would rather have the track than the car,come on GT5 hook us up’

  14. matt-mtb

    Well done lads, would you that as DLC with brands hatch as well.

  15. chase94

    is it just me ore does that first pic kinda look like autumn ring?

  16. I’d love this car too, but then we’d just hear more complaining about how it’s a Nissan.

  17. faburisu


  18. another_jakhole


  19. A_Higher_Place

    If there was a GT Academy car pack as DLC. I would not complain. But no OTHER Nissans please! :p

  20. DaxCobra

    1st!!! Oh, wait…

    That car looks very nom nom.

  21. Beccosinho

    Is it just me, but at first glance that first picture looks a little like Autumn Ring….?

  22. Just don’t kiss your car when you finish 1st, you’ll be thrown in prison.

  23. play3man

    It wants this track to GT5 :)

  24. Well done, looking forward to that car in the DLC???? maybe.

    • Dessy182

      Took the words right out of my mouth. It’s such a beautiful machine. Would love to see this and some of the GT Academy red and white livery stock 370’s as well.

    • GODfreyGT5

      Yeah, saw quite a few of the GT sponsored 370’s at BDC Silverstone, really nice cars, hope they make a show. Ps, doesn’t pic #1 look like Autumn Ring???

    • pasigiri

      forget the car, give me Bands Hatch.

    • pasigiri

      Brands Hatch … eating a sandwich currently

    • Brands Hatch is in my opinion a better track than Silverstone especially with GT race cars.

    • SZRT Ice

      Took the words out of my mouth. It does look like Autumn Ring. The spiral in reverse.

  25. will-i-am

    Congrats and good luck!

  26. GODfreyGT5

    Great work lads!!!

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