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Gran Turismo: Jann Mardenborough on how he learned from his real-life engineer

"He was the first engineer that actually treated me without any kid gloves."

Still image from Gran Turismo movie featuring Jann and his trainer
Image credit: Sony

In the new Gran Turismo movie, gamer-turned-racer Jann Mardenborough is trained to take his video game skills and head onto the actual racetrack with the help of prickly engineer Jack Salter (played by David Harbour). But, like the rest of the movie, there's a true story behind this one.

In an interview with Popverse, the real-life Jann Mardenborough chatted a bit about the special relationship that he had with his engineer Richard Divila. This relationship was so impactful that, when the studio was asking him who had been influenced his career, the first person who came to mind was Divila, who Mardenborough worked with from 2011-2016, with another race in 2018.

"He was the first engineer that actually treated me without any kid gloves. He would actually give me responsibilities," Mardenborough told Popverse, "He'd treat me as if I'd been racing for ten years." Mardenborough went on, "He was someone who was no nonsense. He'd been in the sport since I think the 70s and maybe earlier than that, and he'd done everything -- Formula 1, sports cars, and now he's got me as someone to kind of bring on and unload all of his knowledge. And I loved it. I really felt my progression as a driver a lot around him."

Richard Divila was a Brazillian motorsports designer whose career spanned decades and crossed into Formula One, Formula Two, Formula Three, Formula 3000, and sports car racing. He passed away in France in 2020.

Gran Turismo vrooms into theaters on August 25, 2023. Buy tickets on Fandango or Atom Tickets

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Tiffany Babb avatar

Tiffany Babb

Deputy Editor

Tiffany Babb is Popverse's deputy editor and resident Sondheim enthusiast. Tiffany likes stories that understand genre conventions (whether they play into them or against them), and she cries very easily at the movies— but rarely at the moments that are meant to be tearjerkers.