New York marathon conquest for quartet of GT Academy drivers
On Sunday 06 November, all four Nissan PlayStation® GT Academy winners raced together for the first time. However, this gathering of motor sport drivers was not on the race track, but rather the streets of Manhattan for the New York Marathon. Lucas Ordoñez, Jordan Tresson, Jann Mardenborough and Bryan Heitkotter were four of the 47,438 runners competing in the world-famous Big Apple race.The drivers’ entry into the New York Marathon combined driver physical training with a GT Academy bonding exercise. As part of the intensive five month driver development programme for this year’s graduates, Jann Mardenborough and Bryan Heitkotter have recently been running an average 16 miles a week. Ultimately, the pair’s marathon accomplishment will help prepare them for the physical demands of taking part in their ultimate prize – driving the 420bhp Nissan 370Z GT4 race car in the Dubai 24 Hours in January, 2012.Over two million spectators turned out to cheer on runners from around the world, as they completed the 26.2 mile route that started in Staten Island and made its way through each of New York’s famous five boroughs, before finishing in Central Park. Jordan recorded the best time out of the GT Academy quartet, posting an incredible time of 3:54.01. Jann was next to complete the gruelling endurance race in 4:47.59, with Bryan crossing the finish line at 6:27.52.Meanwhile, Lucas Ordoñez was running a similar pace to Jann, but he agreed not to partake in the full marathon in order to save enough energy for the final round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, which concludes at the Zhuhai Circuit, China, this weekend (11-13 November). Having completed 16 miles of the New York Marathon, Lucas now returns to the race track, having already helped the Signatech Nissan team clinch the LMP2 championship title at Petit Le Mans last month.Every marathon runner has a story. Jann Mardenborough said: “This was without question the toughest thing I have ever done. Despite completing an intense training programme beforehand, you cannot prepare yourself for all the emotions you go through. You end up taking on the challenge mile by mile, with the support of the crowd really spurring you on. It’s definitely built my mental strenghth, which I can hopefully benefit from when taking part in the Dubai 24 Hour race. However, I think I’ll stick to being a racing driver from now on!”Jann Mardenborough, from Cardiff, and US counterpart Bryan Heitkotter will soon be returning to more familiar surroundings when they compete in the Brands Hatch round of the Britcar Championship, on 18/19 November.