As the 2012 British GT Championship draws to a close, one man is hoping for glory in this weekend’s final round at Donington. Jann Mardenborough, who turned twenty-one at Silverstone’s penultimate round of the series, will join team mate Alex Buncombe as they aim for championship gold.

It would top off an extraordinary year for the pair. In June last year, Jann Mardenborough had never even sat in a racing car. Now the 2011 GT Academy champion heads to Donington in the Nissan GT-R GT3 alongside RJN teammate Alex Buncombe with a real shot of winning the series.

The pair are currently lying in third position in the championship with 108.5 points, behind Alasdair McCaig in the #79 BMW Z4 GT3 (112.5 points) and the pairing of Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin in the #21 Ferrari 458 Italia (113 points).

With 4.5 points between the top three and 37.5 points on offer, it’s the closest British GT title chase in history, so the battle is on this weekend with victory on Sunday guaranteeing either one of the top-three contenders the championship title.

Buncombe and Mardenborough were originally only due to compete in the first two rounds of the championship, as a test of both driver and car, but decided to continue after Jann’s stunning debut at a sodden Oulton Park. A maiden British GT victory at Brands Hatch spurred the pair on further and now they’re fighting for the championship in Jann’s first season of racing.

This morning’s first practice session (FP1) at Donington, saw championship leaders Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin setting the pace with a fastest lap of 1:29.428 min. Five more cars also went under the pole position time of 1:30.315 set by Stephen Jelley last year.

Alasdair McCaig, who is second in the points, finished free practice in thirteenth place (1:31.428) in the Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3, while Jann Mardenborough and Alex Buncombe only went seventeenth quickest (1:32.319) in their RJN Motorsport Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3.

There’s plenty of work to be done, but if anyone can do it, Jann-the-Man can.

Qualifying kicks off today (Saturday 29th) at 18:20, while Sunday’s two hour race begins at 14:40 (BST). You can follow the live timing here, while the race will be broadcast in a 90-minute programme on Motors TV at 18:00 on Sunday evening.

Image & video: Nissan Motorsport.

Interview with Jann Mardenborough: Courtesy of Peter Chapman at