Cardiff computer gamer set to drive in Dubai 24-hour race

Jann Mardenborough Jann Mardenborough is set to pursue his dream of becoming a pro racing driver

A would-be racing driver from Cardiff hopes to pursue his dream after beating 90,000 in an online computer game competition.

Jann Mardenborough, 20, from Ely, will take to the grid in the prestigious Dubai 24-hour race next month.

He had never sat in a real racing car until winning a competition for playing a racing game on his PlayStation.

"This is my absolute dream job, this is what every kid dreams of," he said.

Jann has been in training at Silverstone as a prize for winning a driving game contest over the summer.

He told BBC Radio Wales: "I was constantly in my bedroom practising just to get to the national finals.

"For two weeks straight I was on it at least three to four hours every day.

'Thrill'

"Thankfully I stuck with it and I've reaped the rewards."

Analysis

Justin Towell, content editor GamesRadar.com

These games have become so much more realistic. They're in 3D and they have analogue controls. It's just like the real thing.

These games have force feedback steering, so if you turn or brake it forces against you.

The games have got more simulated force, right down to the tyres.

They've spent many millions researching this and driving cars around the tracks. They're meant to be like cars are in real life.

Jann won a place at the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy after beating 90,000 other gamers from across Europe, while playing the Gran Turismo game.

He is now based at Silverstone race track under a special team of personal trainers, coaches and nutritionists, ahead of the big race in the Middle East in January.

Jann hopes to realise his dream of becoming a professional driver.

"Since I was eight years old that's all I wanted to do and I've been giving it my all," he said.

"It's going to be tough out there in Dubai. The temperatures will reach about 50 degrees in the daytime.

Jann Mardenborough Jann Mardenborough says he was playing computer games up to four hours a day ahead of the finals

"It's a thrill to be doing it and I'm just so excited to get back in the car again."

Marathon fit

Jann has been working hard to be race for for January.

He said: "Since joining the academy I have run the New York Marathon and I'm in the gym four days a week.

"I have lost 15 pounds and although I'm looking forward to Christmas I've been told I have to keep an eye on how much pudding I eat."

Jann's parents are "extremely proud".

His father Steve is a former professional footballer with clubs including Cardiff City and Swansea City.

Mr Mardenborough, 47, said: "Since he was about two-years-old Jann has always had cars, toy cars, car games and now the real thing."

Jann Mardenborough Jann Mardenborough in action at a karting centre

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