Jann Mardenborgough is set to get his first taste of racing in North America this March. He has joined the Nissan powered Muscle Milk Pickett Racing team for round two of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship (and Patrón North American Endurance Cup). The 2011 British GT Academy winner is teaming up with longtime Pickett drivers Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr who have pushed the squad to championship success over the past two years in the bygone American Le Mans Series.
“It has been a very big week for me. On Monday it was announced that I am going to be racing in GP3 this year with Arden, and I am really looking forward to that.
Now to be in Sebring and to be linked up with Muscle Milk Pickett Racing for the 12 Hours of Sebring is another great opportunity. I really like sportscars. That is where I started my racing, and to now get the opportunity to race at Sebring for the first time is brilliant.
This is such a historic venue and historic race. I have seen it so many times on TV and now I get the chance to race here. It looks like it is going to be a huge grid with the Daytona Prototype and P2 cars, so that will be a first for me to race against those guys.”
There has been much anticipation going into this second round of TUSCC as the pecking order from the first round, the 24 Hours of Daytona, is expected to take a drastic turn. Daytona Prototypes dominated the Prototype field while the modified LMP2 cars from the absorbed American Le Mans Series battled for scraps at the rear. The LMP2 cars did not have the straight-line speed to compete at the high-speed venue. Sebring will be a different animal to the steeply banked and stretching Daytona “Roval.” We may see the LMP2s control the race and relegate their DP cousins to the rear, struggling to keep up around the twisty and bumpy circuit.
Coming off their Daytona 24 Hour performance, placing 5th overall, Muscle Milk Pickett has the strongest LMP2 package in TUSCC so far and they know Sebring well. Jann has a great opportunity for a strong first showing at the race this year. This is Pickett’s first year at Sebring with an Oreca 03 car, having previously entered with the HPD ARX-03. Jann will have his work cut out for him as Pickett Racing is going to be deep in development with their new car going into the 12 hour race.
Mardenborough tested the #6 Muscle Milk Oreca-Nissan for the first time at Sebring last Thursday, the 20th.
Darren Cox reflects on Jann’s progress and the current program for Nissan’s NISMO Global Driver Exchange.
“Although Jann will focus on GP3 this year, it is important he continues to keep racing in various categories to speed up his development and to highlight our global motorsport activity to his new fans. He will also learn by contesting Sebring with our partners at Muscle Milk Pickett Racing who are very strong on the engineering side of sportscars.
He was impressive at Le Mans last year, but this will be a whole new experience for him – learning about the bumps of Sebring.
The NISMO Exchange has our young drivers racing in different categories in all parts of the world. We had three of our guys doing the Bathurst 12 Hour in Australia recently. Our inaugural GT Academy champion Lucas Ordóñez will race full time in Japan this year, and in reverse we have young Japanese star Katsumasa Chiyo doing a full season in Europe.
We’re delighted to have the opportunity for our NISMO Athletes to contest these major endurance events with Muscle Milk Pickett Racing. They have been the team to beat in recent years and this provides a tremendous learning experience for our guys.”
The 62nd running of the 12 hour endurance classic will feature a capacity field of 64 cars. The race kicks off on Saturday, March 15.
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