GT Academy – it’s the automotive equivalent of X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent, but is proving rather more successful at finding ‘real’ talent. Inaugural champ, Lucas Ordoñez will drive for Nissan at Le Mans this year, whilst last year’s academy winner will start today’s British GT race from Nürburgring on pole position.
It’s less than a year since Jann Mardenborough stepped into a racing car for the very first time, and yet from the very first practice session on Thursday he looking in contention for a front row starting position.
This is also the first pole position for the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 car, which will also be taking part in tomorrow’s Nürburgring 24 hour race on the Nordschliefe (North Loop circuit).
Jann’s performance was even more spectacular when you consider the fact that this is the first time he has been to the Nürburgring. As the newest recruit to Nissan’s roster of GT Academy graduates, Jann has a lot to live up to and results like this are concrete proof of the success of the programme.
“Jann’s performance today was exemplary,” said GT Academy Team RJN boss, Bob Neville. “He did exactly what I would have expected from a seasoned professional. We waited a moment or two at the start of the season then sent him and he was straight on the pace. To take pole with time to spare just shows the level Jann is at now.”
“I’m feeling pretty good at the moment,” said Jann. “That’s my first ‘proper’ pole position as a professional racing driver. I had to work hard for it though. We tried a few things during free practice and going into qualifying we thought we would be okay but the car felt better than ever so I went for it!”
“The results speak for themselves,” said Darren Cox, General Manager of Nissan in Europe. “Pole position means you are the fastest amongst your peers. End of story. I think we’ve proved, yet again, that GT Academy isn’t just a marketing activity or a reality show. It’s the real thing and it finds real talent.”
The race starts later today at 1630hrs CET and you can follow Jann’s progress on Nissan Motorsport’s official Twitter account – @Nissan_OnTrack.