Silverstone is where it is all happening this week for Nissan’s motorsport activities. At the weekend Martin Brundle makes his return to the Greaves Motorsport squad where he will race with his son Alex and Nissan’s first GT Academy winner, Lucas Ordonez in the British round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The second GT Academy winner Jordan Tresson is back on track with Signatech Nissan and the third, Jann Mardenborough will have a special role to play too.
Race Camp, the final level of the 2012 European GT Academy competition, is now fully underway at Silverstone. The 830,000 people who entered the fourth season of GT Academy have been whittled down to 36. Over the course of this week the 36 will be tested to the limits of their ability under the watchful eyes of the judges and mentors and the winner will be crowned after a special race that takes place as part of the FIA World Endurance Championship programme on Saturday.
Jann Mardenborough knows what awaits the winner and as part of his own rapid learning curve the 2011 winner will be spending time with the Greaves team this weekend to experience life in a world-class sportscar team, just as soon as he has finished instructing the 2012 GT Academy finalists. Jann has developed into such an exceptional racer over the past year that he has just been awarded Rising Star status by the British Racing Drivers’ Club.
“I feel very flattered to be chosen as a BRDC Rising Star,” he said. “I get a lot of praise from the team, from Nissan and Sony, but it’s really cool that a programme outside of GT Academy has taken notice of me. It’s really boosted my confidence. I must be doing something right! It’s going to be very interesting to spend time with Greaves Motorsport and Martin Brundle at the weekend. Lucas (Ordonez) has told me he is very good on giving feedback to the engineers and team after a session in the car. I’m fortunate enough to be given a headset to listen in on the conversations he will have with the team. I’m sure I’m going to learn lots from him.”
After making a successful comeback to sportscar racing at Le Mans, Martin Brundle can’t wait to get back behind the wheel of the Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan. Just as at Le Mans the competition will be fierce as he will be up against at least 15 other LMP2 cars, 12 of which are powered by Nissan.
“I’m very much looking forward to Silverstone,” said Brundle. “I had some great races there in sportscars and I was twice a winner of the Silverstone 1000kms. The last sportscar race for me there in 1991 was one of my best ever races, driving solo, and finishing third having lost many minutes in the pits. That performance got me the Benetton F1 drive for 1992.
“Just as at Le Mans the LMP2 class looks extremely competitive and we will have to be perfect with car set up, reliability, strategy, and driving performance to win the class,” he continued. “I will be very disappointed if we are not on the class podium. Personally I’m in good shape and I learned much about driving the car at Le Mans. I’ve not raced on the new Arena GP circuit but I know the layout well and I fully expect to be on the pace. We have a strong team and Alex has shown particularly well around there in F3, F2 and GP3. With such a big gap in the F1 schedule I’m itching to get some adrenalin rushing around again.”
Lucas Ordonez and Jordan Tresson also have itchy feet and are keen to get back into their respective racing cars at Silverstone. This is an extra race for Lucas as he has been competing in the European Le Mans Series this year.
“This is a great opportunity to compete in the highest level endurance championship,” said Ordonez, who lines up with Martin and Alex Brundle in the No.42 Greaves car. “With the European Le Mans Series being shortened it is good to be in WEC with Martin and Alex. It’s a great opportunity to get a strong result after a tough first part of the season with good pace but not getting the results we wanted in the races. LMP2 is extremely competitive so it won’t be easy but I think we have everything in place for a top result.”
“Our goal is always to win,” said Tresson, who competes in the No.23 Signatech Nissan with Franck Mailleux and Olivier Lombard. “On a personal level I am working hard to get closer to Franck’s lap times and it would be great to do that at Silverstone with all of its fast corners. It will be good to race against Lucas too. He beat me at Le Mans so I want revenge!”
One thing is for sure, seeing the past GT Academy winners competing at Silverstone this weekend is going to be an exciting prospect for the brand new GT Academy winner as he sets out on the journey of a lifetime.