Nissan sponsors four gamers-turned-racers in 24 Hours of Le Mans

Nissan will put four video game players in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, an annual automobile endurance race held in France. Nissan has been putting the gamers through a driver development program to prepare for racing since 2011. 

John Horsman/Business Wire
A man watches the Gulf Ford GT 40 and the 908LH Porsche compete in the 1969 24 Hours of Le Mans. This year, Nissan will send four gamers that have gone through a driver development program to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In 2011 Nissan showed the world that it is possible to take a gamer, put him through a driver development program, unleash him at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and see him stand on the podium after the grueling racing. The story of Lucas Ordonez, original Nissan GT Academy winner, and his journey from virtual to reality goes on but there is now a new intake of gamers snapping at his heels to take on the biggest race of them all.

In 2014 Nissan will field four gamers-turned-racers in the 24 Hours of Le Mans: two in the LMP2 class which Nissan is an engine supplier for, and two in the new ZEOD RC electrified race car competing as the Garage 56 entry. The ZEOD RC is a plug-in hybrid and is destined to be the first car to complete a lap in a sanctioned form of motorsport on electric power alone. 

The first two gamers, Jann Mardenborough and Mark Shulzhitsky, will join factory Nissan driver Alex Brundle in the number 35 Ligier LMP2 fielded by OAK Racing. The remaining two, Lucas Ordonez and Wolfgang Reip, will join Nissan factory driver Satoshi Motoyama in the ZEOD RC.

"What started as a one-off project six years ago has become a real route into a top-flight motorsport career for these drivers," NISMO sales and marketing chief Darren Cox said in a statement. "GT Academy continues to grow and, as we spread the net wider into countries such as India, Australia, Mexico and Thailand, we are continuing to unearth real racing talent that would otherwise have stayed in the virtual world.”

The 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place on the weekend starting June 14.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.