Nissan: Three Nissan GT Academy winners race this weekend in the Le Mans 24 Hours

Nissan GT-R LM NISMO Newsroom


  • Winners of the “gamer to racer” scheme line-up for greatest motor race in the world
  • Jann Mardenborough, Lucas Ordóñez, and Mark Shulzhitskiy entered in premier class
  • Race starts at 10 a.m. ET (3 p.m. Central European Time) on Saturday

LE MANS, France – Three previous winners of the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy, the scheme devised to help virtual-reality gamers become real-life racers, face the biggest event of their lives this weekend when they participate in the Le Mans 24 Hours. When the toughest race in the world starts at 10 a.m. ET (3:00 p.m. local CET) on Saturday, its star-studded driver line-up will include inaugural GT Academy winner Lucas Ordóñez (ESP), 2011 GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough (GBR), and the first winner of GT Academy Russia, Mark Shulzhitsky (RUS).

“For me personally, to be able to race in the top class at Le Mans after three-and-a-half years of racing with Nissan, is incredible,” said Mardenborough.



The three GT Academy graduates are part of Nissan’s international nine-driver entry, also taken from the worlds of Formula One and sportscar racing. They will share driving duties, in teams of three drivers per car, in three radical Nissan GT-R LM NISMOs – the innovative and unconventional front-engine, front-wheel drive cars in a sport traditionally dominated by rear-engine, rear-wheel drive machinery.

Mardenborough, 24, the 2011 GT Academy winner, will share driving duties in the number 23 GT-R LM NISMO with former Formula 1 racer Max Chilton (GBR) and sportscar ace Olivier Pla (FRA). Ordóñez, 30, winner of the first GT Academy in 2008, and Shulzhitskiy, 25, will both share car number 21 with reigning Super GT Champion Tsugio Matsuda (JAP). The number 22 Nissan will be driven by NISMO’s longest-standing racer, Michael Krumm (DEU), former LM P2 class Le Mans winner Harry Tincknell (GBR), and Nissan GT racer Alex Buncombe (GBR).



“For most of these drivers, this is the pinnacle,” said Nissan’s global motorsport director, Darren Cox. “Le Mans is the race of their lives.”

The Nissan GT-R LM NISMO is new this year and, compared to its LM P1 rivals from Audi, Porsche and Toyota, still at a relatively early stage in its development. The Nissan’s innovative design was inspired by the unusual demands of the 8.5-mile (13.6km) Le Mans circuit and its high-speed corners. Winners of the race typically cover more than 3125 miles (5,000km) during the 24 hours.

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About GT Academy 2015
GT Academy is a collaboration between PlayStation® and Nissan that uses the virtual world of the Gran Turismo®6 game to unearth real-world racing talent. Now in its seventh year, GT Academy includes separate competitions for Europe (France, Italy, UK, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic), International group (Australia, Mexico, North Africa, Turkey and United States) and Asia (India, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Japan).

The GT Academy qualification round will be part of a free Gran Turismo®6 update on PlayStation®3 (terms and conditions apply). The fastest gamers in each participating territory gain access to their region’s National Final event. A number of competitors can also gain access via a series of Live Gran Turismo events organised locally. The National Finals add driving, fitness and a media element to the gaming.

From National Finals, the action moves onto the legendary Race Camp, where the competitors are put through their paces on track in Nissan sports cars under the watchful eyes of high profile judges and mentors. Winners from each competition will be invited to take part in the intensive Driver Development Programme. They could qualify for an international race license and race for Nissan professionally, with the chance to potentially join Nissan’s elite Nismo Athletes.

Previous winners of GT Academy are now regular racing drivers. In 2015, Jann Mardenborough (UK, winner in 2011) is racing in the World Endurance Championship for Nissan in the top LM P1 category and in GP3, a feeder series to Formula One, with the championship-winning Carlin team. Lucas Ordoñez (Spain, winner in 2008) will be racing in the Le Mans 24 Hours this year in the Nisan GT-R LM NISMO LMP1 entry, alongside Mardenborough. The 2014 Champions, Gaetan Paletou (Europe) and Ricardo Sanchez (International) are competing in the Blancpain Endurance Series with the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN.

News and views on GT Academy 2014 and the progress of all the GT Academy drivers can be followed on various platforms including: | | |


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