In 2015, he lost control of his racing car and crashed into the track fencing, injuring several and killing one spectator. The tragedy is one of his career’s defining events and features in the film Gran Turismo, so where is Jann Mardenborough now?
Born on September 9, 1991, in Darlington, England, Mardenborough first caught the motorsport world’s attention when he won the inaugural Nissan GT Academy competition in 2011, having been a passionate player of the Gran Turismo racing video games, which debuted on the PlayStation 1 in 1997 and has gone onto spawn over 10 spin-offs and sequels.
The Gran Turismo film, which opened in cinemas on August 11, 2023, is “based on the unbelievable true story of a team of unlikely underdogs – a struggling working-class gamer Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe), a failed former racecar driver (David Harbour), and an idealistic motorsport executive (Orlando Bloom),” per Sony. “Together, they risk it all to take on the most elite sport in the world. Gran Turismo is an inspiring, thrilling, and action-packed story that proves that nothing is impossible when you’re fueled from within.” Here’s where Jann Mardenborough is now.
Where is Jann Mardenborough now?
Where is Jann Mardenborough now? Jann Mardenborough’s most recent project was performing as a stunt double for himself in Gran Turismo.
As mentioned, the film depicts the 2015 Nürburgring crash that killed one racing spectator. Nissan issued a statement at the time, saying: “The car is reported to have left the track at the ‘Flugplatz’ section and vaulted the catch fencing, landing on its roof in a spectator area. Several spectators were injured in the incident and despite immediate efforts, one of them succumbed to their injuries. The others have been taken immediately to hospital for care,” per The Guardian.
In putting together the narrative for the Gran Turismo movie, Mardenborough didn’t want the incident to be swept under the rug. “It’s my life; it’s part of my story,” he told Driving.co.uk. “So I feel it would have been a disservice for the audience for that not to be in there. I made sure all of us that were with the production – the producers, Jason [Hall] the scriptwriter – that that was how it went down. Because it needed to be correct because somebody lost their life in this accident. And the movie does a great job of that.”
He elaborated on that point in an interview with the AU Review: “I’ve been talking to script writers and producers since 2018. They came over from America and were heavily (in depth) about my life before racing and (my time) during the academy. Before scenes, Archie would ask me so many questions. He was very, very attentive. He wanted to know all the details about (my) family,” he said. “It’s not like he’s replicating how I walk (though). That’s not the vibe. And I’ve been very involved in the scripts as well. They wanted to put out something which is representative of my life, and it’s a very mutual (feeling) of being on the same aligned path. I’m happy with it, because it’s my name that it’s on. I feel great.”
Mardenborough’s racing career began in 2011, when he participated in the Nissan GT Academy competition, a collaboration between Nissan and the Gran Turismo video game. The competition aimed to find racing talent among gamers by putting them through a rigorous training program that eventually led to a real-life racing career.
Mardenborough emerged as the winner, earning him a seat in Nissan’s driver development program. He underwent extensive training and progressed through various levels of motorsport, ultimately competing in high-profile racing series like the Blancpain GT Series, Super GT, and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
In a 2013 interview with VICE, he spoke of how casually he entered the competition. “I woke up one morning and decided to have a go. I’d heard about the competition before and I’d always wanted to be a racing driver as a kid, but saying it and doing it are completely different things. At that time in my life I had nothing else going on — all my friends had gone off to travel or study, while I was still at home. So I put all may attention into GT Academy,” he said. “Before this point, I’d never been on a track, driven a sportscar, or power-slid a car. All my experience was on Gran Turismo! But I eventually won the competition and from there, my life changed completely.”
Mardenborough continued to race in a variety of competitions and races, including the GP3 Championships, two more Le Mans races and the Super GT championship for five consecutive years. Between 2021 and 2022, he took time off to work as a test and development driver for Nissan and McLaren in Formula E.
In addition to promoting the Gran Turismo movie, Mardenborough made a return to professional racing at the Fuji 24 Hours as part of the HELM Motorsports team in May. “I spent a lot of time in Japan, in SUPER GT, and the GT500 car is cool which I like a lot, but there are other things I would like to try. I’m interested in [WEC] Hypercar and in IMSA. Wherever the best opportunities lie, I will go,” he told Motorsport.com in May 2023. We will see what the future holds. But for now, it’s not confirmed that I will focus on one area, or one region of the world.”
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