On May 16, 2015, Nissan managed to put a young SIM driver as a driver of one of their finest cars, the GT-R Nismo GT3. A spectator witnessed one of the finest moments when the GT3 suddenly cartwheeled over the fence, resulting in the death of the spectator. Neill Blomkamp’s film Gran Turismo (2023) is based on the life of that GT3 driver, Jann Mardenborough. He is more than the incident that happened at the Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit, an unfortunate accident that almost pushed Jann out of racing.

*Spoilers Ahead*

Gran Turismo (2023) Plot Summary and Movie Synopsis:

Steve Mardenborough’s older son, Jann, doesn’t really get out of his room. He is almost inseparable from his PlayStation, and Steve, being a football player at Cardiff City, doesn’t like this immobile lifestyle of his son. Jann doesn’t like football much, and after the new sim racing wheel delivery for Gran Turismo, he is about to live his dream.

He sets up the sim wheel, customizes his car in the game, and starts racing. Whenever he plays Gran Turismo, he feels like he is driving a real car, only this time, with the sim racing wheel, it feels more realistic than ever. Jann knows he is better than any sim-racer in the world, but little did he know that something is cooking in one of Nissan’s marketing people that will change his life forever.

What does Danny Moore Propose?

Danny Moore works in the marketing team of Nissan in the UK. He visits the Nissan headquarters in Tokyo with one of the most bizarre ideas any marketing team in F1 has ever come up with. He proposes to put a sim driver behind the wheel of an actual racing car and make him or her a champion. The management of Nissan is astonished by the fact that one could even think of such a horrendous thing.

But, a bold decision backs up every great or reckless idea, and Nissan decides to fund the idea. They only have one proposition, though. Danny must acquire a chief engineer who can guarantee that the race will not cause any problems. Imagine this: you have played MotoGP for hours in your bedroom, and now you have the opportunity to ride an actual bike, that too in a championship!

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is safety. You can teach some noob driver how to drive a sports car; a lot of rich people drive them, but can you actually beat an F1 driver with that? Well, every engineer on the list says no to what Danny proposes except for one person. However, this person has a shady past, which is one of the reasons why he is not a favorite on Danny’s list. But, it is madness that attracts the mad people, anyway. Danny goes to pay a visit to Jack Salter.

Does Jack Salter Agree to Danny’s proposal?

Jack Salter is working as an engineer for Capa; however, he is very much tired of seeing Nicholas Capa driving. Nicholas doesn’t listen to his seniors or know how to control his emotions on the race track. But whenever Jack offers some guidance, Nicholas humiliates him by bringing up events from Jack’s past. But a man must earn to live by.

Here comes the opportunity as Danny Moore. His proposal seems absurd to Jack, but since Nicholas humiliates him again later that night, he calls Danny and takes up the job. Jack Salter used to be one of the finest racers in the UK. His accident at the Le Mans track in France forced him to leave the wheels for good.

It wasn’t his fault; he was just passing the Ford car in front of him. The driver of the Ford car, Tony, twitches a bit, the car blasts and Tony dies. Jack wasn’t hurt physically, but he decided to stay off the track for the rest of his life. The trauma that accident gave him ended his career as a racer. And now, he is offered the opportunity to make one.

How Does Jann reach from Cardiff to GT Academy?

A still from Gran Turismo (2023).
A still from Gran Turismo (2023).

Since everything is set up, Danny sends a note to every top sim driver around the world, and Jann is also invited to play for the biggest prize ever put up by Gran Turismo. Danny says in the video that Gran Turismo is organizing a virtual race where the top sim racers worldwide will participate. Only eight will qualify for the GT Academy.

In the GT Academy, they will be allowed to drive a real sports car, and the one selected from that training program will participate in the actual F1 championship. Apart from playing Gran Turismo, Jann has only dreamed of driving a sports car, and here comes the opportunity. Jann takes part in the competition and wins it in the 1st position.

He goes to GT Academy to meet with Danny Moore, Jack Salter, and the creator of the game, Kazunori Yamauchi. Jack Salter’s opening speech makes the other sim drivers, along with Jann, feel that this will be one of the greatest mistakes they are going to commit. Anyway, the training begins, and seeing the gamers who never ran on the field doing rounds of the racing tracks on foot is really hurtful.

How difficult is the journey from GT Academy to the Dubai Enduro for Jann?

During the training program, Jack Salter reveals that only five of the eight selected sim drivers will participate in the final race, from which they will pick the 1st ranked driver for the F1 championship. One by one, the drivers get out due to a lack of fitness or bad driving. One day, Jack sits beside Jann while driving, and Jann tries overtaking Matty in a corner. However, that doesn’t go well, and Jack asks Jann to press the brake.

Jann ends up thrashing the car against the barrier, and Jack shouts at him. Jann tells him that the brakes are glazed. Furthermore, Jann is almost on the verge of getting out of the GT Academy. But when his theory about the brakes turns out to be true, he remains in the panel to fight. Jack now understands that Jann knows about the cars more than any other sim drivers on the panel.

In the final race, Jann beats Matty by a fraction of seconds. However, since this has all been done for the greater good of marketing, Danny insists Jack announce Matty as the winner. Matty is more confident in front of the camera than Jann, so Danny sees that as a marketing opportunity. However, Jack stays honest with the decision, and Jann is the sole winner of the GT Academy.

Nissan agrees to sponsor him through the Dubai Enduro, where coming in fourth can give him the opportunity to have the F1 license. With that, he can participate in the championship and show the world that he is a born racer who is just as good a driver as any professional sports car racer. Well, things start to fall apart from this point forward.

Does Jann finally get his Professional Driver’s License?

Welcome to Dubai Enduro, where six different races occur on six tracks. Jann is finally introduced to the world of professional racing. He is becoming more and more popular since he is on the verge of creating history. The first-ever sim-racer who is going face-to-face with professional drivers on the track. Well, however exciting this may sound, Jann comes in the last position in the first race.

As time progresses, reality hits Jann in the hardest way possible. In the last race, Jann finally comes to fourth place, giving him the FIA license. Then, in the first race, Nicholas Capa forces Jann out of the race by pushing his car from the back. Moreover, in the final race, Capa again tries to put Jann in such a position; however, he loses control of his vehicle and goes out of the race.

What Happens at the Nurburgring Circuit?

Jann has completed every level to reach the circuit as a professional driver. He has his license. He has even signed a contract with Nissan, and now the only thing that is left is to go out there and show the world how professional he has become from a mere sim-racer. The Nurburgring circuit in Germany is considered one of the most feared, and yet Jann is listening to Kenny G before the race.

He gives Jack a present and tells him to open the package after the race. Unbeknownst to him, there will be a section called ‘Flugplatz,’ which translates to ‘Airfield.’ That section is known for car lift-offs. Jann loses control at that section, and his car cartwheels, resulting in the death of a spectator. Jack runs to the spot and brings Jann to the hospital.

After regaining his consciousness, Jann learns that the accident is responsible for the death of a person. He starts blaming himself while Jack and Danny try to tell him that in such intense sports, accidents do take place, and there is nothing the driver can do about it. Apart from some scratches, Jann is not injured much. But his trauma grows significantly over the period. He decides to leave the racing world behind.

Gran Turismo (2023) Movie Ending Explained:

Does Jann Finally Win a Professional Race?

When everything seems to have reached an end, Jack finds it very hard to admit the failure for the second time in his life. He has failed himself as a driver, and now, he also failed as a teacher. Subsequently, he decides to show Jann what he is capable of. He drives a Porsche while Jann sits beside him, regretting perhaps every decision he has made so far to reach this stage. Jack drives them to the exact spot where Jann cartwheeled his Nissan.

Jack stops the car, wanders a bit, and then shares the story of Le Mans, where he drove for the last time. He speaks of a circumstance very similar to Jann’s. He tells Jann that at that time, he thought he was responsible for the driver Tony’s death. That is the reason why he has left driving and still regrets not having enough courage to confront his trauma. He tells Jann that he can always walk away. No one will question his decision, as most people will do the same. But, whatever he does, he will always be remembered for his reaction after the accident.

Jann then drives the car very slowly, feels the air through his body, and then gets ready for Le Mans, where a 24-hour-long race will take place. As per Danny, this is the final opportunity for all the sim drivers to prove that they can drive. A protest is going on to shut down this sim-driver campaign led by Nicholas Capa, and Jann stands as the only hope, along with Matty and Antonio, to stand for the sim-drivers one last time.

A champion always stands out from the rest of the lot when he knows how to react in a pressure situation. Jann does so when everything is at stake. He needs the world to know he can win on the biggest of stages. Just before the race, Steve, Jann’s father, finally comes to see his son. He regrets not supporting him enough through his dream. Jann gets all the motivation he needs and joins the 24-hour-long race.

Before the final lap, Team Nismo is in ninth place when Jann enters the vehicle. He picks up the pace and beats almost everyone to reach fourth place. This is enough for Team Nismo. But a champion is always hungry for more. Jann looks for a top 3 finish, and for that, he requires beating his archrival, Capa. A golden opportunity comes, and it is up to Jann whether he wants to take it and be remembered for his courage or just settle in fourth place for a pat on the back for a job well done.

Jann picks up his pace as he remembers the track, just as similar to the game he plays, Gran Turismo. He habitually takes the wide line rather than the race line that the other drivers follow. He talks to Jack to let him do it the unorthodox way, his way. This helps him reach from ninth position to fourth in the final. Now, he tries that again, but Capa is too clever not to fall into that trap. However, the trick helps Jann get beside Capa; now, it is a straight road ahead.

Jann pushes hard, very, very hard, and he beats Capa to grab third place by one centimeter or two. Jann helps Team Nismo be on the podium celebrating third place. Team Nismo opens the champagne bottles while Jack, Danny, and Steve look at Jann with pride.

Is Gran Turismo (2023) Based on a True Story?

Yes. Gran Turismo (2023) is ‘almost’ based on the true story of Jann Mardenborough. The only thing being shifted from reality to add drama and build suspense later on, were the events of the accident that happened to Jann. Originally, it occurred after Jann won third place at Le Mans. It was done mostly to build up the drama so that when Jann finally wins Le Mans, the winning moment has a deeper impact on the audience.

At the end of the film, we see real-life pictures of Jann, from touching a racing car at the age of 5 to training at the GT Academy. The whole journey is an unmatched truth of a legend who even acted as a stunt double in this film. Jann Mardenborough participated in almost 200 races in his entire career. He is the first sim driver ever to win a professional race with a sports car.

However, the rest of the characters are mostly fictional, including Nicholas Capa. It is probably initiated to build a rivalry between talent and nepotism. It works out just fine, as the intensity was really well-crafted throughout the film.

Read More: Where to Watch and Stream the new racing movie ‘Gran Turismo’ starring David Harbour & Orlando Bloom?

Watch Grand Turismo (2023) Movie Trailer

Grand Turismo (2023) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
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