The man whose extraordinary gamer-to-racer life story has been adapted for the cinema believes that not including his horror crash at the Nürburgring, which killed a spectator, would have been a disservice to the audience.
Ahead of the release of the Gran Turismo movie next week, Jann Mardenborough told Driving.co.uk that the accident was a part of his life and therefore had to be part of the film, too.
Mardenborough, 31, was racing a Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 on the Nordschleife section of the 12.9-mile circuit in 2015 when his car became airborne at the notorious Flugplatz, which translates as “airfield” or, more literally, “flying place”, due to the undulation of the track that can result in cars leaving the asphalt. When Mardenborough’s car did so it flipped in the air then crashed through the fencing and into the spectators, one of whom was killed. Several others needed to be hospitalised as a result of their injuries.
Rather than shy away from this tragedy, Gran Turismo makes it a key part of the narrative. Mardenborough, who was heavily involved in the production from the planning stages right through the production and post-production, said he wanted to include the accident in the film — though only if it was handled with care.
“It’s my life; it’s part of my story,” Mardenborough told us (see video interview below). “So I feel it would have been a disservice for the audience for that not to be in there.
“I made sure all of us that were with the production — the producers, Jason the scriptwriter — that that was how it went down. Because it needed to be correct, because somebody lost their life in this accident. And the movie does a great job of that.
“It shows as well the deep dark moments of my life when I was in the hospital by myself. You know, the mental aspects to such an event, and in life as well: what can happen; how you can get out of that; how can you rebound and achieve something — achieve greatness — off the back of that. And so it had to be in there.”
Mardenborough became a racing driver for real after winning the Nissan/ PlayStation European GT Academy competition in 2011, and has gone on to score wins in single seaters and sports cars, including a podium for Nissan in the LMP2 class at the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours race. The Gran Turismo movie explores that story.
Mardenborough, who was as a co-producer, stunt driver and consultant during filming, is played by Archie Madekwe (Midsommar). Other stars including Orlando Bloom (The Lord of the Rings), David Harbour (Stranger Things), Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) and Geri Halliwell Horner (the former pop singer who is married to Red Bull F1 team principal Christian Horner).
Gran Turismo is released in cinemas on August 9. Read our review of the film here.Follow @wdron Tweet to @wdron
- If you were interested in Jann Mardenborough talking about his Nurburgring crash ahead of the release of Gran Turismo, you might be interested in our interview with him from 2014.
- Also check out our Gran Turismo 7 video game review, which we called a triumphant return to form
- And don’t miss this story about plans for Gran Turismo to be made into a television series
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