Northern News

Gran Turismo Film Launches Today, Based on Darlington-Born Racing Driver’s Life

Darlington-born racing driver Jann Mardenborough is the star of a new feature film which launches in cinemas across the UK and worldwide today.

The film, Gran Turismo, is a dramatisation of Mardenborough’s career which — rather improbably — started out on the PlayStation racing game of the same name.

Mardenborough was one of 90,000 gamers around Europe who entered a competition in the game, jointly run by Sony and Nissan, taking victory at the “GT Academy Race Camp” final in June 2011.

As a prize for winning, Mardenborough embarked on an intensive training programme to prepare him for a drive in the 2012 Dubai 24 Hours, in which he’d earn a podium in the GT4 class driving a Nissan 370Z.

That sparked a successful racing career in which the then-20-year old drove in international GT3, GP3, and GP2 championships, Super Formula and Super GT in Japan, and raced twice at the 24 Hours of Le Mans — including the top LMP1-H category.

Produced by Sony Pictures and directed by Neill Blomkamp — director of the Oscar-nominated District 9Gran Turismo features a fictionalised account of Mardenborough’s teenage years and GT Academy itself.

The film stars Archie Madekwe (See) as Jann, with Shazam! actor Djimon Hounsou as his father Steve, a former professional footballer famous for scoring Wolves’ winning goal against Liverpool at Anfield in 1983 and for winning promotion back to the Football League with Darlington in 1990.

David Harbour (Black Widow) and Orlando Bloom (Pirates of the Caribbean) also star as original characters created for the film, with Geri Halliwell (Crank 2: High Voltage) appearing as Jann’s mother Lesley-Anne.