GT Academy Team Score Podium Finish at 2012 Dubai 24 Hours

After 24 hours contending with the heat, dark and fireworks of Dubai, the all-GT Academy team of Lucas Ordoñez, Jordan Tresson, Bryan Heitkotter and Jann Mardenborough managed to bring their RJN Motorsport Nissan 370Z home in a creditable 3rd place in class and 26th overall:

The Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy all-gamer team took a podium finish at the Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai this afternoon, marking the end of the ‘Road to Dubai’ for the two 2011 winners, Jann Mardenborough and Bryan Heitkotter. They couldn’t have had more appropriate team-mates as they were joined by the 2008 and 2010 GT Academy winners, Lucas Ordoñez and Jordan Tresson in a 370Z race car.

It was Gran Turismo®5 expert turned real racing driver Jann Mardenborough who took the chequered flag after 24 hours of competitive racing where all four gamers showed their skills behind the wheel and brought home a race car without a trace of damage; an amazing feat after an endurance race.

“That was without doubt the weekend of my life,” said Mardenborough. “The only thing that compares to it is winning GT Academy last June. It feels like pure joy. This is just the first step for me and now I hope that my performance in Dubai can take me further.”

“I’m so pleased that we got a good result in our first international 24 hour race,” added Bryan Heitkotter. “We’ve worked hard during the last six months to get to this point and I would say to anyone who wants this as much as I did that you can reach your goals if you focus on them and work hard.”

The first winner of GT Academy, Lucas Ordoñez, started his international racing career in Dubai three years ago and so far his journey has taken him all the way to a class podium in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

“This is a great moment,” said Ordoñez. “We have really proved that GT Academy works as to get four gamers to a podium finish at this race is amazing. I am very impressed with my new team mates who have only been racing for six months. They came here and were fast, consistent and didn’t make any mistakes.”

“It was pretty tough in the car and 24 hours is a long time to have to hold it all together,” said second GT Academy winner, Jordan Tresson. “If any of us had made just one slip at any point during the race it could have been game over for us. I want to say well done to Jann and Bryan who were still bedroom gamers just one year ago.”

The boss of the RJN GT Academy team, Bob Neville, was delighted to see the graduates that he has trained achieving an incredible result today.

“This is the first time that all four of my graduates have raced together so it is a special moment for me,” he said. “ I couldn’t have asked for two better guys when Jann and Bryan won the European and USA competitions last summer. Like Lucas and Jordan before them they came into this with their eyes and ears open and absorbed everything we taught them. It’s particularly nice that we should do this in Dubai as it was here three years ago that an idea formed by Darren Cox of Nissan and Mark Bowles of Sony Computer Entertainment really came to life. This race was the toughest test and they all passed with flying colours. I’m proud of them all and proud to be part of GT Academy.

The team qualified the #100 car 4th in class, behind the GT3 Racing Dodge Viper, the Guttroff Corvette C6 and the Las Moras Renault Megane and endured a troublesome first quarter of the race as all four drivers struggled with braking issues, until they finally had to be changed on Jann’s stint to lose them 20 minutes overall. The team still managed to take the Nissan – called “The Gamer Car” by radiolemans – up to 3rd in class until, at the start of hour 7, the car developed a power issue and had to be recovered to the pits. After this fault was repaired – traced to a blocked air filter – it was a race-long battle with the recovering Guttroff Corvette, the GC GC10 V8 and the VDS Racing Adventures Mustang while the Viper and Megane lead the class ahead.

At the halfway stage, the Viper developed a severe gearbox issue which immobilised it for hours, while the Guttroff Corvette and GC10 had a recurrence of their early reliability problems. The GT Academy team drove on into the night and early morning, with Bryan and Jann even getting seat time in the second #120 RJN Motorsports car, an SP3 class 370Z GT4. With ninety minutes left, Jann took over the drive for the final stint and collected two more places to bring the car home in a formation finish with the #120 car.

GTPlanet sends our congratulations to Lucas, Jordan, Bryan, Jann and the RJN Motorsports and GT Academy teams!

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Comments (52)

  1. ssupr@96

    A great victory. Dubai accomplishes its goal for another year of masking its child slavery laws by hosting its yearly 24hr race. PD should consider not re-creating this track for any of the GT series and its too bad, I enjoy GT5 tremendously. It took skill to compete and achieve their placement. No hating on the team, but the sponsors who turned there heads… F-U. So for all Hatr’z check your facts, check me as wrong, whatever. I welcome all.

  2. redreevos

    Awesome job guys!!! I thought only a couple of the GT Academy drivers were going to run this with some “seasoned” professionals rounding out the team. Great work by all four GT Academy drivers to get themselves, through a lot of hard work, to be trusted with the sole piloting of the car.

    You guys are making us sim racers look really good. Thanks guys!!

    I have my fingers crossed that there will be something on Gran Turismo TV showcasing this event. I would love to watch some footage.

    Congrats again guys!

  3. Rynogtr23

    You know whats ironic, these 4 guys are the product of gtacamy and more importantly Gran Turismo, yet GT5 has to put up with unfair comparisons to Forza4 and Iracing(like those games could even walk the same earth as GT5),steady criticism by losers who cant produce anything better, the countless amount of idiots that host and participate in dirty driving rooms and lets not forget that ITS A FACT that out of every single racing simulator game out there in the market today( For any system), there is only 1 that happens to be the work of a real, licensed, Pro racing driver in Kazunori Yamauchi. I’m sure theres not even 1 member on Turn Ten or Iracing’s staff that even participates in a track day every so often. Are we still having this discussion? CASE CLOSED GT5 RULES!!

    1. Drift260Z

      my previous post was just a simple troll to see what I could drum up.

      that being said, iRacing is definitely a superior sim. Forza is pretty crap, and probably always will be. but iRacing has their physics pretty close to the real thing. I HATE their business model, and it’s why I don’t play it, but I was a beta tester, and a lot of their cars are pretty spot on. I race in real life, and how the cars handle are actually pretty close to the real thing. GT5’s physics are too drift-y to be realistic.

    1. TokoTurismo

      @Drift260Z Boohoo, no need to be jealous. They’re always outside training at their hardest chasing their dreams that I’ll respect forever in my heart. While you’re just either in your bedroom or basement on your little computer on the internet 24/7. If you have a pet, spent more time with them. >:)

    1. FdkVeilside

      they were 3rd in their class they were competing in, 24hr enduros are hard mostly because of the reliability of cars, scoring a podium 3rd place with a car that had one of the longest pitstop times accumulated isnt bad at all, and then add the fact that the drivers of that car used to race on their PS3s…overall its a pretty amazing weekend

  4. FdkVeilside

    what i would really like for the next DLC is all the Nissans used by team RJN and GT Academy, Dubai track, GT Academy themed driver suits and such, whos with me?

    1. FdkVeilside

      who knows, they bothered getting Nascar, WRC and stig suits….and they probably have most of the data for the cars

  5. GT5_X2010

    Excellent acheivement for 4 gamers to take a podium at the Dubai 24 hours.

    However while they did get a podium, didn’t only three cars finish in their class? But even getting to the end of a 24h race is an acheivement.

  6. davepierce07

    Brilliant job guys. Very chuffed for all 4 of you and for RJN Motorsports too. Great job. Watched as much as I could on Motors TV, and youtube…P.S. I’ll second that Themartlab. That no’100 car should get into GT5 now..;-))…

    1. TokoTurismo

      I have a dream being worked on for 7 years soon moving on to 8. :) I will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. This is really inspiring. :) Congratz again guys. :D

    2. VspecZR1GT2RS89

      Congrats guys!!! You four have proven to the world that virtual reality can actually be a reality and inspration to everybody who want to follow their dreams. I can’t wait to meet the GT Academy winners and have some great competition either online or on the tracks in real life. :D

  7. diabolicwyvern

    I’m reminded of the 24 hour endurance the boys of top gear ran. I recall clarkson shouting “you brilliant little car you”

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