At the Chicago Auto Show earlier this month, Nissan revealed that GP3 race winner Jann Mardenborough would be one of the drivers of the innovative GT-R LM NISMO race car. Mardenborough is also the 2011 winner of Nissan's GT Academy. The following is an interview with Jann that took place at the Chicago show. SUBSCRIBE to NISMO.TV to find out more about this amazing race car.
Mardenborough: "I'm really excited to be able to show this car for the first time, and to get announced as a driver as well, in the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO.
"This one compares quite similar to winning GT Academy. You know, you are standing on the podium after having just won, knowing that your life is going to change massively.
"To reach the top of sports car racing in the three-and-a-half years I have been racing with Nissan, through GT Academy, through as a gamer, it shows that the GT Academy program works. And for me as a driver, it's very satisfying to reach the top of sports car racing. And to compete against three other major manufacturers this year – in the golden year, really – of sports car racing now with Nissan is a great, great feeling.
"I think a lot of kids would have watched our Super Bowl advertisement and gone, 'wow, this car looks awesome' and want to get into motor racing. I would say to them if you have a dream of doing something in your life that you are really passionate about, never give up on it. Keep pushing for it. You might be really far-fetched. You might be really out there. But if you keep that as your dream and that is your focus, you never know you could achieve it.
"My favorite part of the whole car is the power. I mean the engine is spectacular. It is a 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine, loosely related on the Nissan GT-R road car in general. The power is absolutely incredible. You have so much torque in the car.
"Nobody has ever seen a front-wheel-drive, front engine LM P1 car before. And for me it requires a different way of driving the car, but there is so much opportunity the way the car has been designed for it to become competitive and for us to get a lot of speed out of the car.
"For me the best part of sports car racing is the night racing, driving in the dark. Because, specifically at Le Mans, it is a road track. It is a street surface. You have road signs because it is used by the general public. When you are doing close to 200 mph in the dark, when your headlights are flashing against these road signs, it's a very cool feeling to have. You don't see much, but you sort of get into this trance of doing lap after lap and three-and-a-half hours just flies by. It is a unique feeling to sports car racing and a feeling that I want to have in this Nissan GT-R LM NISMO.
"From now, I'll go back home to the UK, back to Wales. Then I'll be training in Northampton near Silverstone, getting fair use of the simulator.
"I had a dream of always being a racing driver. Didn't know how to do it. But the opportunity came about through GT Academy through Nissan. After hard work, I am now here. So anything is possible.
"I feel very satisfied to be a part of the team, but also really hungry for results, for wins and victories and podiums. I hope this is going to happen. I'll be pushing as much as I can. I want to do what I do best, and that is race and do as best as I can."