The latest driver in Red Bull‘s single seater talent programme was plucked out of the world of video gaming.
22-year-old Briton Jann Mardenborough honed his skills on the Playstation game Gran Turismo, winning the Nissan-sponsored virtual competition GT Academy and then moving into real-life GT, Le Mans and F3 single seaters.
“The traditional route to F1 of karting and single-seaters is a tried and tested success, but Nissan and Playstation have gone down a very different road and started to find some very talented drivers who have been doing all their practising on a games console,” said Red Bull driver development chief Andy Damerum.
Mardenborough has been signed up by the energy drink company, and in 2014 he moves into the third-tier F1 feeder series GP3 with Christian Horner’s Arden team.
It is the very seat that last year was occupied by Russian Daniil Kvyat, who has leapt straight into formula one for 2014 with the energy drink company’s second team Toro Rosso.
“This season is my opportunity to impress more people in the sport who make the decisions on who makes it into F1 and who doesn’t, and I’m going to give it my best shot,” Mardenborough said.