There is a fantastic news for Gran Turismo: Jann Mardenborough will be competing in the world’s fastest touring car race, the Super GT GT500 Class! We haven’t seen a GT Academy graduate in the GT500 since Lucas in 2015, but now Jann has moved up in the ranks after a great season in the GT300 last year. Not only that, he’s racing for none other than legendary TEAM IMPUL!
The 2017 Nissan motorsport activity plan announcement showcase held at the Nissan Global Headquarters Gallery has seen the introduction of the new 2017 regulation spec GT-R GT500. Presenting on stage were Director Kazuyoshi Hoshino and Hironobu Yasuda.
In the following talk show, the drivers were asked “What career would you have pursued if you had not become a racing driver?” Matsuda-san sent the crowd into laughter with his reply “Otaku”, but the other drivers were also surprised to hear Jann say he wanted to be a designer. Apparently he has an appreciation for product design.
The show floor was also blessed by the presence of rare race cars, usually only seen at the Nissan heritage collection or the Nismo showroom: the Fairlady Xanavi NISMO Z (GT500), bringing back memories of its title win in 2004; the ZEXEL Skyline GT-R (Gr. A), winner of the 1991 Spa 24 Hour race; and the 1999 series Championship winner R34 Skyline Penzoil Nismo GT-R (GT500), which I’m sure many people discovered through Gran Turismo. Next to these gorgeous historic cars, there was also a Gran Turismo racing pod where attendants could try to beat Jann’s record time ghost car in a special Time Attack challenge.
Meanwhile, the first GT Academy champion Lucas will again be entering the Blancpain Endurance Series this season. Lucas had learned enough Japanese to make Japanese people laugh in the short time he spent with the Super GT, while Jann spoke through a translator throughout the event. The other drivers had the crowd laughing with their catcalls of “Jann, you’ve got to have learned more Japanese by now!?”. In addition to Japanese drivers who can speak English like Chiyo-san, there are overseas drivers like Ronnie Quintarelli who speak good Japanese, so it would be great if he also picks up some language skills to communicate with avid Japanese fans at the pit walk and paddock area.
Jann did comment in Japanese at the end, with a “Ganbarimasu!” (“I’ll give it my best!”).
It will be great to see him perform in the iconic Calsonic blue GT-R of Mr. Hoshino’s team, a legend in Japanese motorsports history. I can’t wait for the opening of the Super GT at Okayama International Circuit on April 8!
*The Nissan motorsports activity announcement showcase can be watched on the Nissan Motor Company official YouTube channel.
2017 Super GT Calendar
Round 1: Apr. 8-9 Okayama International Circuit (Okayama Prefecture)
Round 2: May 3-4 Fuji Speedway (Shizuoka Prefecture)
Round 3: May 20-21 Autopolis (Ooita Prefecture)
Round 4: Jul. 22-23 Sportsland SUGO (Miyagi Prefecture)
Round 5: Aug. 5-6 Fuji Speedway (Shizuoka Prefecture)
Round 6: Aug. 26-27 Suzuka Circuit (Mie Prefecture)
Round 7: Oct. 7-8 Chang International Circuit (Thai)
Round 8: Nov. 11-12 Twin Ring Motegi (Tochigi prefecture)