GT Academy Stars Take Another Podium in 2-Hour Endurance Race

July 25th, 2011 by Jordan

European GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough and his American counterpart Bryan Heitkotter faced the toughest challenge so far of their intensive ‘Driver Development Programme’ on Sunday, 24 July at Castle Combe. The pair campaigned their PlayStation® Nissan Team 370Z to a second-in-class finish (17th place overall) in the competitive Britcar Dunlop Production GTN Championship. The strong result in the two-hour endurance race secured each driver two more vital ‘signatures’ required for them to attain the international race licence that will allow them to compete in the Dubai International 24 Hour Race in January 2012.

The winners of the third instalment of PlayStation and Nissan’s innovative ‘virtual to real’ racing driver competition arrived at Castle Combe in confident form, having both secured two podium finishes earlier this month. Their latest outing in the RJN Motorsport run Nissan 370Z race car presented a new challenge, as they battled against a field of 30 cars during the Britcar race, featuring Ferrari 430’s, Porsche 911’s and open sports cars.

The team’s weekend got off to a good start having qualified in second place in the production class. Bryan started the race, guiding the Nissan 370Z to 18th overall, first in class, as he completed his one hour stint. After the driver changeover, a racing incident with a car in the same class led to a puncture. The team used the forced pit stop as an opportunity to refuel the car, with Jann going on to drive very consistently, as he took the chequered flag in 17th place overall, second in class.

Bob Neville, the PlayStation Nissan team boss, said: “This was their first big race and they both passed with flying colours. In sweltering temperatures, they handled the car extremely well on what is renowned as a very tough track. It was their first endurance race and an important one to finish, as it represented two signatures each on their race card. They remain on track to qualify for an international licence.”

Jann Mardenborough, the 19-year-old from Cardiff said: “For drivers like myself that have not raced at Castle Combe before, it’s a really tricky circuit to get the racing lines right, but it proved another great opportunity to learn. We were driving in temperatures of 22 degrees and I was sweating buckets. It was close to the end of the race when I noticed that I was driving with the heating on. I guess it was not bad preparation for Dubai though.”

As the GT Academy programme builds towards entry into 2012 Dubai 24 Hour endurance race, the duo’s next competitive outing in the Nissan 370Z race car will take place at the Snetterton round of the Britcar Dunlop Production GTN (13 & 14 August).

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  1. Christopher E.

    Will this be on television.

  2. It would be nice to see these events put in the game as seasonal events

    • Willfred_1

      Castle comb a pretty simple circuit so u could probaly make it track creator

  3. Normalaatsra

    The real winners on the Gold podium look like robots with those oddly shaped racing suits.

  4. willfred_1

    I was there it was a pretty good race.
    it’s only half an hour from my house

  5. zr1chris

    Prove the game translates pretty well to real life. If you have what it takes to win the GT Academy then you have what it takes to race in real life. Congrats guys!!!

  6. Chadders85

    Second in class, another great result. Well done guys, keep proving that the top GT players can cut it in real world racing!

  7. lol @ the sweltering temmp of 22. I’d like to see them race a touring car in aus for 75 laps on a street circuit in 35 degree heat. But in brit i guess 22 is like tropical climate lol.

    • Swinkel

      I assume it was 22 outside, but he had is heater on so was more tropical inside.

      Anyway congrats to both Bryan and Jann!

    • suntoucher

      not really!

  8. topgearkazami

    Fantastic job you guys, keep fighting!

  9. Another important race we missed that should have been on gt5 tv.

    • dening80

      Excellent point, shouldn’t I be hearing about this first in GT5 not on gtplanet?

      They are doing a good job racing though, their car would likely be the class of the field,(preparation and resource budget wise) but considering their experience…

  10. p-coletray

    Nice work Rookies! Make a statement with podium finishes.

    Please PD, make the 24 hrs of Dubai track and car available by 2012, thats all I ask! (At least we can dream, right?)

  11. Butters

    Way to go guys. Keep on doing your best.

  12. occasionalracer

    WE should all be getting the chance to race the virtual RJN 370z racecar…

  13. R1600Turbo

    Yay, finally some news about Bryan. (although I already knew about this) :)

  14. GTP_Davey07-O37

    Congratulations to both Jann and Bryan for the podium finish, and the sigs…;-))…

  15. Mr. COOLfiat

    Very interesting, Jordan. Thanks for the update!

  16. lol @ the heater. Can’t say I don’t envy these guys, great job and good luck!

  17. Rock on!

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