More Podiums for GT Academy Winners, Ordoñez Steps Up at Silverstone

September 12th, 2011 by Jordan Greer

The GT Academy 2011 driver development programme shifted up a gear last weekend when European winner Jann Mardenborough had his first competitive outing in a 420bhp Nissan 370Z GT4 race car. Racing in the Welsh Sports and GT Championship at Pembrey, Wales, the gamer-turned-racing driver recorded two strong third place finishes and a fourth in the weekend’s three races.

The GT4 car is a more powerful, race-bred version of the standard 370Z that Jann and his USA GT Academy counterpart Bryan Heitkotter have been racing as the two hone their real racing skills in preparation for an assault on the prestigious Dubai 24 Hour race in January, 2012. The pair will have the opportunity to experience the demands of driving the sequential-gearbox 370Z GT4 car over a full 24 hour period when they take part in the Britcar 24 Hours endurance race at Silverstone from 1-2 October – a pretty good dress rehearsal for the main prize of GT Academy 2011, albeit without the intense heat of the Middle East.

Jann and Bryan were fairly evenly matched at Pembrey. While Jann was third on Saturday, Bryan was just behind in fourth. But on Sunday, Bryan got the better of his British team-mate taking two second places to Jann’s third and fourth.

The GT Academy duo is racing under the guidance of the experienced RJN Motorsport team boss, Bob Neville, who commented: “It was a really good performance from both drivers. Pembrey is a tricky circuit that proves an excellent platform for driver training. This was their biggest test so far, with us posing the question; can they handle the Nissan GT4 car? I was particularly pleased with the way they adapted to the extra power without any difficulties at all. For them both to get podium finishes was an added bonus.”

Mardenborough, from Cardiff, recently celebrated his twentieth birthday and said after the race: “If I step back to look at what I have achieved in such a short space of time, I am really pleased with my progress. Racing the GT4 car was another step forward. It has a lot of similar handling characteristics to the standard 370Z that I was previously racing, but it obviously has more power and a different gearbox. I am getting used to left foot braking now and I keep practising my down shifts, so it’s a case of trying to improve every time I’m in the car.”

Jann and Bryan are following in the footsteps of inaugural GT Academy winner, Lucas Ordoñez. Within three years, the Spanish student graduated from his PS3 to record a podium finish at the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours race with the Signatech Nissan LMP2 team.

Lucas and the team were back in action at the weekend in the latest round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) at Silverstone. His racing education continued when he took on the qualifying and starting role for the team for the first time, producing a very creditable performance before some technical difficulties left the team for too long in the garage. They ultimately finished seventh in class, but still have a chance to take the series win with two rounds remaining. The Nissan-powered Greaves Motorsport team provided the perfect consolation for the Japanese manufacturer, taking a fourth win of the season to leave them very close to clinching the 2011 Le Mans Series title.

Silverstone photographs by Kevin Mc Glone of Red Square Images.

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  1. Sep. 16, 6:38pm
    Mac K

    Thats awesome! Congrats to everyone!

  2. Sep. 13, 9:29am

    Either a Mazda RX-8 or Honda S-2000.

    • Sep. 13, 5:11pm

      Nope, Hugo is right – it’s a Ginetta G20 in full race spec. I thought it was an old Marcus at first…

    • Sep. 13, 6:24pm

      Okay, thanks. It’s a gorgeous looking car. Is that a Caterham on the left too?

  3. Sep. 13, 8:21am


  4. Sep. 13, 5:34am

    Sorry missed this bit out…
    7th in class!?!?! How can you congratulate that?!

    • Sep. 13, 6:01am

      DID YOU MISS THIS PART?! “technical difficulties left the team for too long in the garage”

  5. Sep. 13, 5:32am

    Don’t you realise that everytime you post about one of the GT Academy winners’ 3rd & 4th place etc, finishes, you make them look even worse.
    It’s like calling Jenson Button an awesome driver, when Sebastien Vettel kicks EVERYONES a**.

    • Sep. 13, 5:41am

      lol riiiiiight. button IS an awesome driver, as is the rest of the F1 field. Including whoever comes dead last. Vettel is a freak, best of the best is how i prefer to look at it!

    • Sep. 13, 5:56am

      ALSO, 2 podiums and a 4th in his competitive debut is FANTASTIC!

    • Sep. 13, 7:26am
      Dj smurph

      Considering they are going up against seasoned drivers they are doing ok. It’s an education period they are in. It must top priority to finish the race as they will need signatures on their licenses to go to duvai

  6. Sep. 13, 2:15am

    :( I would like to compete in GT academy. we need a Central america GT academy :) !

    • Sep. 13, 8:45am

      whoa Nelly, America can’t even manage General Motors properly

    • Sep. 13, 12:01pm

      Wrong America.

  7. Sep. 13, 12:31am

    i have to say it “just cuz”

    I bet those cars will be future DLC.


  8. Sep. 12, 8:29pm

    Winner once more, that’s indeed great. Way to go. :D Two Thumbs up that’s for sure. ;)

  9. Sep. 12, 8:22pm

    I wish Lucas Ordenez’s race car wouldn’t keep breaking down. It’s got to be frustrating starting at the front of the pack in a race, and then end up being far behind due to mechanical failures.

    • Sep. 12, 8:23pm

      Ugh! Typo on his name, Lucas Ordonez.

  10. Sep. 12, 8:00pm

    One word,jealous. Good for them though

  11. Sep. 12, 7:41pm

    this guy just wont stop winning!!!!

  12. Sep. 12, 7:30pm

    Amazing that they have gone that far

    • Sep. 12, 7:32pm

      Very true, I remember playing with Twinturbo before he got big and famous… He was an awesome guy back then and he has a bright future ahead of him :D

    • Sep. 12, 7:33pm

      Yeah. :D

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