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

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.”

See more articles on , , and .

Comments (48)

  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. 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?

    1. 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:

  3. 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.

  4. mykem

    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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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???

Comments on this post are now closed.

About the Author