Mardenborough to make international racing return at Spa 24 Hours

The 32-year-old Briton will contest the blue riband round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup on 29/30 June aboard a McLaren 720S GTE Evo run by RJN Motorsport, the team with which he took his first steps in racing after winning Nissan’s gamer-to-racer academy scheme in 2011.

Mardenborough, whose story was told in 2023 film Gran Turismo, will share the Pro-Am class entry with the Buncombe brothers, Alex and Chris, and new RJN owner Simon Watts.

The centenary running of the Spa classic will be his first international start since he was released from Nissan’s Super GT roster after a five-year stint at the end of 2020.

Mardenborough has raced only twice since 2020, in last year’s Fuji 24 Hours Super Taikyu fixture aboard a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 and then last month’s three-hour British GT Championship race at Silverstone with RJN in preparation for the outing at Spa.

“We were approached to see if we could fit Jann into our Spa line-up and thanks to the support of Simon we were able to do it,” RJN founder Bob Neville, who continues to run the team for Watts, told Autosport.

“We know what Jann can do, so we were happy to put him the car.

“He did a couple of tests before Silverstone and he was straight on the pace, which didn’t come as a great surprise.”

Photo by: DPPI

Mardenborough said: «I’m grateful to be on the grid and to compete in this great race in its centenary year.

«It’s been a target of mine for a while and I’m pleased to be accomplishing it.

“I’ve got big ambitions, so it’s time to get to work with the whole team.»

Mardenborough revealed in the wake of his class win and third overall in the Silverstone 500 British GT round that he is aiming to return to racing full-time in 2025.

“I’d love to race top-level sportscars in Europe and USA,” said Mardenborough, who contested the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2013-15 in Nissan-engined LMP2 machinery and then its front-engined GT-R LM NISMO LMP1.

“Hypercar, I believe, will be a golden era of sportscar racing so I’d love to be a part of that.”

He admitted that he needed to prove himself after his absence from the cockpit and that he took the first step in that direction at Silverstone with a race-leading performance in the RJN McLaren shared with Chris Buncombe.

“People are aware of what I did in the past, but they still need to see me performing outside of Japan,” said Mardenborough, who retained a Formula E simulator role with Nissan into 2022.

“I proved that I can mix it with the best GT drivers in the world in mixed conditions in a car I’ve never raced before.”

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