GT Academy champion from 2011 Jann Mardenborough has signed a new driver management contract with MB Partners, run by former F1 driver Mark Blundell.
Mardenborough is arguably the most successful driver to ever emerge from the GT Academy program, which took players from Gran Turismo and turned them into fully fledged racing drivers. While almost all stayed on as Nissan drivers in various championships around the world, the Darlington, County Durham, born driver reached heights that no others could manage.
After completing his debut international race — the Dubai 24 Hours — third in class, in the first ever all-gamer podium in motorsport, Mardenborough competed in British GT — memorably winning at Brands Hatch in the closest ever finish recorded in the series.
Another high-profile podium followed, this time in the LMP2 category at the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans, where Mardenborough partnered Michael Krumm and first ever GT Academy champion Lucas Ordonez for 327 laps of the famous endurance circuit. He’d return to Le Mans in 2015, to drive the ill-fated Nissan GT-R LM NISMO LMP1 car.
In 2014 Mardenborough finished runner-up to Andrew Tang in the Toyota Racing Series, scoring the most race wins of anyone, and saw Red Bull sign him to their junior driver development program. That same season he scored a race win in the sprint race at Hockenheim in GP3 Series — what’s now known as FIA Formula Three, as he came ninth overall.
His most recent exploits have been in Super GT in Japan. Running in GT300 for Nissan and in Japanese Formula 3 concurrently, Mardenborough made visiting the podium a habit. He’d finish runner-up in F3 — by just three points — and fourth in the GT300 class, resulting in a promotion to a GT500 drive.
However, after two seasons in the famous blue Calsonic Impul GT-R, Mardenborough found himself moved into the sister Team Kondo machine — an effective demotion, while still in GT500 — with only one visit to the podium, and two race wins snatched from the drivers by reliability issues. Despite consistently being the quicker driver in the Kondo car, Nissan opted to keep his team-mate and drop Mardenborough for this season.
Clearly at 29, the British driver still has plenty to give and is far from short on pace. Hopefully with a shift to a new management outfit we’ll see the GT Academy winner back with a race seat soon.
Mark Blundell, CEO of MB Partners, commented:
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Jann to MB Partners. Jann’s route into elite motorsport was an unprecedented one at the time. Since then, his sustained success at the highest level showcases how much talent he has. Despite already having achieved so much, all my conversations with Jann illustrate how motivated he is to progress even further and the team and I look forward to supporting him in achieving those ambitions.”