As the rest of us settle back for the New Year, with our copy of GTPEDIA in-hand, GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough is gearing up for a very busy winter indeed.
After a European summer of racing, Jann has joined New Zealand’s top open wheel competition, the Toyota Racing Series. The series consists of 15 races over 5 rounds in successive weekends of January and February 2013 and Jann will be driving the traditional Nissan #23 car for ETEC Motorsport.
Round 1 – 10th-13th January – Teretonga Park, Invercargill
Round 2 – 17th-20th January – Timaru International, Timaru
Round 3 – 24th-27th January – Taupo Motorsport Park, Taupo
Round 4 – 31st January – 3rd February – Hampton Downs, Waikato
Round 5 – 7th-10th February – Manfeild Park, Feilding
Although it’s not well known in the Northern Hemisphere, the Toyota Racing Series is an established route into higher formulae. The chassis themselves are built in Italy to FIA F3 specification and previous participants have graduated to Formula Ford and Formula Three. It also marks the first time a GT Academy winner has driven a major race series without Nissan power – the series using 500kg Toyota chassis with 200hp Toyota engines.
This open-wheel experience and a series of tests with Carlin at Oulton Park, Valencia and Barcelona has lead to rumours of a 2013 F3 seat for Jann and the first steps towards an open-wheeled career – amongst Carlin’s former drivers is Max Chilton of Marussia F1. However it’s likely to be a “wings and slicks” experience for him ahead of joining other GT Academy winners in LMP2, along with Carlin’s GP3 driver Alex Brundle who has driven the Greaves car with Lucas Ordoñez.
In the meantime, Jann has been getting to grips with the British GT and F3 safety car – the Nissan Juke-R: