Is Gran Turismo movie a true story? Who is Jann Mardenborough - real events film is inspired by

Gran TurismoGran Turismo
Gran Turismo | Sony Pictures
Upcoming Columbia Pictures and PlayStation Productions racing film Gran Turismo is based on the true story of Jann Mardenborough

Best-selling video game series Gran Turismo is getting the movie treatment, starring Djimon Hounsou, Orlando Bloom, David Harbour, and Archie Madekwe.

However, the film is not your typical video game adaptation, as the movie is based on a true story about the game, rather than the game itself. A trailer has already been released for the film, which will land in cinemas in the UK on 11 August 2023.

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The movie follows a teenage Gran Turismo player whose incredible skills on his PlayStation eventually lead him on a path to a professional racing career. This is everything you need to know about the fascinating true story of Jann Mardenborough, the man the movie is based on.

Gran TurismoGran Turismo
Gran Turismo | Sony Pictures

Is Gran Turismo a true story?

The Gran Turismo (GT) video game series is a racing car simulation game in which players race different sports cars on a variety of different tracks - some routes are based on real world racetracks, such as Silverstone and the Nürburgring, whilst others have been created specifically for the games.

The name Gran Turismo, literally means Grand Tourer and refers to the high performance cars featured in the game. There have been eight main GT games so far, with more than 90 million units having sold worldwide as of 2022, making the franchise the highest-selling game series in the PlayStation brand.

However, the Gran Turismo movie is not based on the world of the game itself, which doesn’t feature a plot or characters. Rather, the film follows the true story of a teenage Gran Turismo player who eventually became a professional race car driver in the real world.

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Who is Jann Mardenborough?

Jann Mardenborough, a 31 year old British gamer turned racing driver, was a huge fan of the GT series and played GT5 on the PlayStation 3 religiously - he became so good at it that he won a place at Nissan’s PlayStation GT Academy.

At the Academy he put his practice to good use, scoring highly and even winning a spot on the reality series GT Academy which involved racing real cars on real tracks, driving for Nissan at the Dubai 24 Hour circuit. His game experience translated into the real world and he caught the racing bug soon after getting behind the wheel.

Jann Mardenborough drives his Nissan GT-R LM Nismo at Le Mans 24 Hour raceJann Mardenborough drives his Nissan GT-R LM Nismo at Le Mans 24 Hour race
Jann Mardenborough drives his Nissan GT-R LM Nismo at Le Mans 24 Hour race | AFP via Getty Images

Jann went on to become a professional racing driver, switching to Formula racing - in 2013 he took part in the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand, aged 21, placing 10th.

He placed third at the 24 Hours of Le Mans later that year and second at the Toyota Racing Series in 2014. He also made the podium at the Japanese Formula 3 Championship in 2016, placing second.

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Jann has taken part in several other racing major events throughout his career to date, including the Macau Grand Prix results, GP2, and FIA Formula 3 European Championship.

In 2015, Jann was involved in a fatal accident during the VLN endurance race at Germany’s Nürburgring. His car, a Nissan GT3 Nismo, came off the track and crashed into the crowd - one spectator was killed in the incident and several others were injured.

Jann was not seriously injured in the crash, despite being in the vehicle when it cartwheeled in the air, but was deeply affected by it. However, he continues to race both in real cars and in video games. Jann will be played by Midsommar and See star Archie Madekwe in the Gran Turismo film.

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