• Red Bull

Red Bull takes on video gamer in GP3

ESPN Staff
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Jann Mardenborough started his racing career playing Gran Turismo © Getty Images

Video game player turned racing driver Jann Mardenborough has been taken on by Red Bull's driver development programme and will race in the GP3 series this year for Arden.

Mardenborough won the Playstation GT Academy in 2011 - a competition based around the computer game Gran Turismo - and has been working his way through the motorsport ranks ever since. Last season he competed in Formula 3, at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and took part in tests in both GP3 and Formula Renault 3.5.

His assault on the GP3 championship this year will see him drive in support races at grands prix and he is looking forward to competing on a more high-profile stage.

"I feel ready for GP3," he said. "I've prepared well and I have all the right people around me to help my development so I can fully focus on my racing. Formula 3 has taught me so many things, both in the car and out of the car, both mentally and physically. It was a great stage in my development and I'm sure the skills I've learnt there will help me in GP3 and beyond. I'm excited to work with Arden. My initial impressions of them are excellent; they have a lot of experience and great success over the years.

"I haven't raced the GP3 car yet, but going on initial testing, I prefer the GP3 car to an F3 car. The power is very addictive! 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."

Red Bull Racing's driver development manager Andy Damerum said he was interested to see how a driver who had started out racing in virtual reality would fare in real life.

"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 practicing on a games console. I'm very interested to see how Jann fares on our programme and in GP3 this season, and I look forward to taking him under the Infiniti Red Bull Racing wing to further progress his career. "