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Straight out of the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy, Jann Mardenborough showed it is quite possible to go from a gaming console to a car. After three participations at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, next weekend at Monza the young official Nissan driver will take another step by debuting in the GP2 Series, the final frontier before F1.
Though many former winners of the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy now have their place in the world's paddocks, Jann Mardenborough's journey remains atypical as he is the only one to race single-seaters, and stunningly: in three years he satisfied all the admission criteria - based on race results - of the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC).
During those three years, having never raced in karting prior to debuting, he trained with Nissan, for whom he has become an official driver for the GT-R LM NISMO program, and taken under the wing of Trevor Carlin, owner of the eponymous single-seaters outfit which has been home to four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull driver in F1.
Carlin's main driver set to race in another championship at Monza, Italy next weekend, Mardenborough, unlucky this year in the GP3 Series after having won a race during his first season, was promoted to the GP2 Series, the final step before F1.
F1 after LM P1? Mardenborough took his first steps in the LM P1 class at the wheel of the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO this year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He was forced to retire despite having crossed the finish line at his first two participations, even claiming a podium finish in the LM P2 class his debut year, 2013.
His recipe? "Never give up and work hard." That was his answer at Scrutineering back in June.
Cécile Bonardel / ACO - Translation by Nikki Ehrhardt / ACO
PHOTO: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), PLACE DE LA REPUBLIQUE, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SUNDAY JUNE 7 2015, SCRUTINEERING. Jann Mardenborough, in deep conversation with Michael Krumm during Scrutineering as he awaits Nissan's turn.