They say when you find something you love at a young age, do it in hopes that you can make a career out of it. But what if that something you love is so difficult to master, let alone excel at, and your options for experience are limited? You're left to your own devices, and must maximize your opportunities however you can get them.

Tell that to Jann Mardenborough, a professional race car driver who honed his craft via the PlayStation racing simulator Gran Turismo. Indeed, Mardenborough didn't grow up with a race car driver dad, nor did his parents have nearly enough money for a fancy hotrod he could take to a local drag-strip. Instead, Mardenborough honed his craft the only way he knew how: video games.

Mardenborough's stranger-than-fiction ascent from gamer to real-life racer is profiled in the new movie Gran Turismo, which was released in theaters in August 2023. Directed by Neill Blomkamp, of District 9 and Elysium fame, Gran Turismo shows Mardenborough as an accomplished Gran Turismo player.

His skills get him recruited by Nissan's ultra-exclusive GT Academy, a competition that took gamers and put them behind the wheel of race cars in effort to see if they can do it at the next level. Mardenborough proved early his skills would transition from games to reality.

I had the privilege of talking to Jann Mardenborough on the phone. He's an eloquent storyteller, with a great attention to detail. We talked about everything from the very first time he played Gran Turismo, to his experience doing stunts for the movie, to his future goals as a racer:

So, I was at my parents' friends house on bonfire night [....] I was eight-years-old. I bought a Mitsubishi 3000 GT [on the Gran Turismo video game] on the used car marketplace, and I was racing [on] the PlayStation 1. - Jann Mardenborough recounting his first time playing Gran Turismo

Take a listen to my interview with Jann Mardenborough on YouTube! You can also follow Mardenborough on Instagram, and rent/purchase Gran Turismo on digital right now!

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