Nissan today announced the next three drivers for the GT-R LM NISMO LMP1 as Jann Mardenborough, Lucas Ordonez and long-standing NISMO racer Michael Krumm.
British ace Mardenborough was announced during a press conference at the Chicago Motor Show while at the same time in Yokohama, Japan, it was announced that fellow GT Academy winner, Spaniard Lucas Ordonez had also been selected to race the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO, along with NISMO racer Michael Krumm from Germany.
It was only three years ago that 23 year-old gap year student Mardenborough entered the Nissan GT Academy and subsequently saw his life changed forever when he landed his dream job.
Fast-forward to the end of 2014 and Jann is a GP3 race winner, has set tongues wagging at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and his performance at last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours made the establishment sit up and take notice of the young man from Cardiff, blowing apart the traditional route into racing. This year will see him step up to compete as a full Nissan factory driver in the top class of the full FIA World Endurance Championship.
“I want to show that there is a different route to the top of motorsport, than just years and years of expensive go karting, by winning at Le Mans,” said Mardenborough. “It’s an honour for me to be chosen to compete in LMP1 for Nissan.
“I have raced at Le Mans twice in LMP2 so I have seen the current LMP1 cars at very close quarters out on the track.
“To think I will be racing one this year is very exciting. The Nissan GT-R LM NISMO looks set to be an historic race car and I get to drive it!”
Lucas Ordonez is the first-ever winner of GT Academy and the first GT Academy diver to race at Le Mans, capturing the headlines when he finished the great race on the podium. With this on mind, it is perhaps little wonder he has been chosen to race the third Nissan GT-R LM NISMO at Le Mans with the Spanish joining fellow Nissan Super GT racer, Tsugio Matsuda in June.
Before he gets to Le Mans though Nissan has given him a new challenge; after his debut season in the Japanese Super GT GT300 Championship, Nissan has shown its faith in Ordonez and placed him into the top category of Super GT where he will race the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500.
“When I received the call telling me I would race the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO and the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 it was like winning GT Academy all over again,” said Ordonez.
“Last year was incredible, racing in Japan and learning all about the unique racing culture over there. Now I get to race in the top class in Japan and at Le Mans I will jump into the ultimate GT-R!
“I know it sounds like a cliché but GT Academy really does turn dreams into reality, giving people a real chance to get their dream job, just like I did. For sure you have to work hard but when you do the rewards are there. I have never been so excited about the start of a new season.”
Joining Mardenborough and Ordonez in Nissan’s LM P1 line-up is NISMO regular Michael Krumm, who was the first man to drive the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO. Well-known for his car development capabilities Krumm brings a great deal of experience to the team.
“Jann and Lucas have proved their merit as professional racing drivers time and time again, not least with their Le Mans podium finishes,” said Darren Cox, Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, NISMO. “What looks like an overnight success is years of incredibly hard work by Jann, Lucas and the Nissan NISMO team that develop all of the winners of Nissan GT Academy.
“These guys are proof that if you want something badly enough and are prepared to give it everything you’ve got, you will succeed. We have the same ethos with our LM P1 programme. Drivers like Krumm add that extra layer of experience that is vital in a programme like this.
“We are here to compete at the highest level and we are not here to make up the numbers,” he continued. “It’s no accident that people like Mark Webber are racing at Le Mans. This is where you will find the most competitive racing in the world. It is a tough battlefield but we can’t wait to join the fight.”