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Nissan GT Academy drivers barred for being too fast

11/02/13

NISSAN’S GT Academy Team RJN entry to the British GT Championship has been refused as the drivers are ‘too fast’ for the national Pro-Am category.

In 2012 GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough entered the British GT Championship alongside Alex Buncombe in the brand new Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3, but despite Jann’s incredibly limited racing experience he was deemed ‘too fast’ for his performance grading.

As he didn’t meet any of the higher criteria, which require more time on track, the organisers had no choice other than to apply a time penalty to allow the others to catch up.

“I have a lot of admiration for GT Academy,” said British GT Championship Manager Benjamin Franassovici. “It has shown itself to be a great way to source raw talent and turn that into real racing talent as we saw in British GT last year with Jann Mardenborough.

“However, Nissan’s ability to find such amazing raw talent means that we cannot accept their full season entry for British GT in 2013. Their new recruits have very little racing experience so they have to be on the lowest performance grade [below the GT3 class].

“Their talent, going on Jann’s speed last year, doesn’t reflect this lack of experience so it is not fair to put them up against our Pro/Gentleman grid, the basis of British GT3. Hats off to Nissan though and I should point out that there are no closed doors here.”

In his first full season as a racing driver Jann’s talent was recognised by the British Racing Driver’s Club who awarded him Rising Star status and he was also awarded a place on the prestigious MSA Academy, run by the governing body of motorsport in the UK.

“We don’t know yet if the new guys will be as fast as Jann but British GT have decided not to take the risk,” said Nissan’s Global Motorsports Director Darren Cox. “It’s disappointing that we can’t put any of our new winners into the British GT Championship as it was a great learning experience for Jann.

“It’s also very flattering at the same time though. Being told you are too fast isn’t something that happens very often in any competitive sport. We’re working hard now to make sure our new graduates have a great race programme this year.”

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