Jann Mardenborough, the video gamer who graduated from console racing to Le Mans racing and F3 competition, has been signed to drive for Christian Horner’s Arden International Team in this year’s GP3 championship. He has also secured access to Red Bull Racing’s driver development facilities.
The 22-year-old driver graduated to professional racing by winning GT Academy, a competition organised by Nissan and Sony that saw gamers compete on the Gran Turismo video game in pursuit of a real-world drive. Mardenborough won the 2011 edition beating out some 90,000 other entrants.
Since then he has competed in GT cars, Le Mans Prototypes and single-seaters, his most recent efforts earning him the runner-up spot in the New Zealand-based TRS single-seater championship. He also finished third in the LMP2 class at Le Mans last year.
Apart from competing in GP3, Mardenborough will gain access to Red Bull Racing’s driver development tools including time in the simulator. He hasn’t, however, been signed to Red Bull’s Junior Team development programme, which this year has slimmed down its roster to just three drivers: Spain’s Carlos Sainz Jnr, Briton’s Alex Lynn and French racer Pierre Gasly.
“I feel ready for GP3,” said Mardenborough of the challenge ahead. “I’ve prepared well and I have all the right people around me to help my development so I can fully focus on my racing. Formula 3 has taught me so many things, both in the car and out of the car, both mentally and physically. It was a great stage in my development and I’m sure the skills I’ve learnt there will help me in GP3 and beyond. I’m excited to work with Arden. My initial impressions of them are excellent; they have a lot of experience and great success over the years. I’m looking forward to working with my race engineer Sean (McGill).
“I haven’t raced the GP3 car yet,” he added. “But going on initial testing, I prefer the GP3 car to an F3 car. The power is very addictive! This season is my opportunity to impress more people in the sport who make the decisions on who makes it into F1 and who doesn’t and I’m going to give it my best shot.”