August 5, 2013
The next phase of the Nismo Global Driver Exchange will see Jann Mardenborough and Alex Buncombe head to Fuji this week to take part in the SUPER GT Official Test at Fuji Speedway on 6/7 August. Both drivers will then go on to compete at the Fuji Sprint Cup at Fuji this November.
Jann Mardenborough is the 2011 winner of GT Academy who is now competing against the cream of the crop of single-seater drivers in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship. He has recently taken a podium finish in a Nissan-powered LM P2 car at the Le Mans 24 Hours and been part of an ‘All-Gamer’ line-up that took a Pro-Am podium at the Spa 24 Hours in the No.35 Nissan GT Academy Team RJN Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3.
“It is an amazing opportunity for me to have the chance to race in Japanese SUPER GT,” said Mardenborough. “I have raced at Fuji many times on Gran Turismo 5 so I can't wait to go there for real and sample that long pit straight and there is a long right-hander that also looks a lot of fun. Before I started racing in 2011 there were three places that I always wanted to go: Dubai, USA and Japan. I've done the first two and now I get to go to Japan and I get to race there too. I will be racing GT300 but it will be good to get a close look at the GT500 cars too as they look so exciting! I would love to race regularly in Japan at some point in my career so this opportunity is very important for me.”
Alex Buncombe has played a key role in the success of GT Academy since 2008. He has mentored all of the GT Academy winners and helped to guide them through the steep learning curve of Nissan's driver development programme. Already a winner in the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 car in 2013 he is keen to get his hands on the GT300 car at Fuji.
“These are exciting times for me as I have never even been to Japan, let alone raced a SUPER GT car,” said Buncombe. “I've been watching people like Michael Krumm compete in GT500 on television for years now and it looks so good. It's the pinnacle of GT racing so naturally I have wanted to have a go for a long time. I know the GT-R GT3 car inside and out so I am particularly interested to see how it performs on the Yokohama tyres.”
Jann and Alex were team-mates last year in the British GT Championship, where they came tantalisingly close to winning the title in what was then a brand new Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3. Nissan's Director of Global Motorsport, Darren Cox, is looking forward to seeing how they perform in Japan.
“I already know that Jann and Alex will perform professionally in Japan,” said Cox. “Every time they get in a race car they get the job done so I think they will do a good job in SUPER GT. It makes us proud that we can give these opportunities to our drivers via the Nismo Global Driver Exchange.”