How Gran Turismo turned a gamer into a pro driver – and you won’t believe what he says about it!

From Video Game to Reality: The Story of Jann Mardenborough

On Track

If there’s one thing we can say about the Gran Turismo franchise without harm, it is that they don’t really shine by their scenarios—in fact, there isn’t even one. So when Sony wanted to adapt the franchise for the big screen, they had to find a precise and original idea that could also respect the aura of the series itself. This script pirouette was finally found by drawing inspiration directly from real life, with a particularly unusual fact: a Gran Turismo player (a real one, in the flesh) named Jann Mardenborough was so good that he became a professional driver. A pitch already found for the cinema, you will agree.

In the Wings

In the sphere of sports mechanical and/or video game, the story is well known. Mardenborough has been a racing enthusiast since he was a child and very quickly switched to Gran Turismo 5 on PS3. As a matter of fact, he was so good that he won the GT Academy, an international competition organized by Sony. And it was Nissan who officially picked him up as a driver.

As a result, Mardenborough has gone from a purely virtual driver to a GT competition driver: he will even take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2013, 2014 and 2015! A rather crazy story that had already motivated Kazunori Yamauchi, the creator of Gran Turismo, to make a film in the 2010s.

It will therefore have been necessary to wait until 2023 for the cinematographic project to be about to be completed. The set will be directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9) and Jann Mardenborough will be played by Archie Madekwe, accompanied by a few stars like Orlando Bloom or David Harbour.

A little making-of, both about the film and the true story of Mardenborough, incidentally aired: it is to be found at the beginning of the article, in our video player.