Nissan Playstation GT Academy winners Jann Mardenborough and Bryan Heitkotter left Silverstone disappointed after their involvement in the Britcar 24 Hours came to very early end.
Mardenborough and American Heitkotter combined with experienced Nissan GT driver Alex Buncombe and Chris Ward for the 24 hour race at Silverstone, and both men – having come from the world of online racing and gaming acquitted themselves well in both the day and night sessions in preparations for the race. The team qualified the RJN Motorsport run Nissan 370z in seventh overall behind the Moslers and Ferraris of the premier class.
Buncombe took the opening stint, running as high as fourth in the early stages of the race before handing over to Mardenborough – the first British winner of the European GT Academy competition.
However, just five laps into the 20-year-old's stint the car loss oil pressure and ground to halt on the pit straight, the team officially retiring the car once it had been recovered to their garage.
“It's disappointing but you have to take the rough with the smooth and I have been lucky enough to experience many highs since winning GT Academy,” said Mardenborough. “I can also take encouragement from today, having put in some good lap times both in the heat of the day and in the dark.”
“We were looking good for a strong finish,” said team principal Bob Neville. “This is only our second retirement in 26 races this season so we're not used to this kind of disappointment, especially as the car was so competitive during qualifying and the start of the race.”
Both Mardenborough and Heitkotter have already qualified for the International C race license, but continue to gain experience – their next race is October 15-16 at Zandvoort – ahead of their main prize, a drive in the 2012 Dubai 24 Hours in January.