Jann-MardenboroughJann Mardenborough, Nissan’s latest Sony PlayStation GT Academy gamer-turned-racer, has become gamer-turned-international-race-winner after triumphing at Hockenheim yesterday.

Mardenborough won the reverse-grid GP3 race in a Nissan-sponsored Arden Motorsport car, after leading from the front of the grid. He beat second-placed Dino Zamparelli by a commanding margin of almost four seconds, setting fastest lap along the way.

It was the 22-year-old’s first victory in international single seaters, after previous wins in the Toyota Racing Series and British GT championship. He has also scored a podium at the Le Mans 24 Hours race.

Mardenborough won the Nissan/Sony Playstation GT Academy competition in 2011, beating 90,000 other gamer entrants, and went on to receive tuition to turn him from virtual gamer into a real-life racer. He’s driven in several series since then, including a crack at British Formula Three, with increasing success. This year’s GP3 campaign puts him on a career path to Formula One, making his victory even more significant.

“Not bad for a gamer!” said Mardenbourgh on Twitter, with a picture of his race winner’s trophy in the team motorhome.

As for the 2014 GT Academy competition, things are now well underway: the four initial rounds have now been completed and organisers are now planning for the National Finals, due to be held next month. Interest in it is expected to be redoubled following Mardenborough’s win: all finalists will now know 2017 could be a very big year for them.