Nissan GT-R used in Gran Turismo film to go under the hammer

The car was driven by Jann Mardenborough, whose gamer-to-racer story inspired the Hollywood drama

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The Nissan R35 GT-R Nismo GT3 that featured in this year's Gran Turismo film is to go up for grabs at auction.

A supercar with more than 400 horsepower and 640Nm of torque, this particular GT-R was used by the GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough, whose gamer-to-racer story inspired the story of Gran Turismo.

It featured heavily in the first half of the film, which was released in the UAE on August 10. Mardenborough himself got back in the car’s driver’s seat to shoot the racing stunts.

The Nissan GT-R, owned by GT Academy founder Darren Cox, will go under the hammer at Iconic Autioneers, previously known as Silverstone Auctions. The live auction will be held at The Wing, Silverstone Circuit on Friday at 4pm UAE time. Bids will be accepted on site, as well as over the phone, online or via commission.

The Nissan GT-R was first bought in 2014 by RJN Motorsport. The motoring club upgraded it to 2015 Nismo specifications before making it part of GT Academy. The vehicle has more than proved its mettle on the race track. It put in two exceptional performances at the Nurburgring 24 Hours, where it came ninth in 2015 and 11th the following year.

The car was also driven by other GT Academy winners, including Ricardo Sanchez, Gaetan Paletou, Lucas Ordonez and Matt Simmons. It was also raced in by Alex Buncombe, who is part of the Nismo Global Driver Exchange; Struan Moore, who has driven in the GT World Challenge Series and British GT Championship; and Matt Parry, winner of the Autosport Award.

The GT-R was then bought by Graham Tilley, who raced in the vehicle in the 2020 GT Cup Championship.

The car was bought by Cox about 18 months ago. The British businessman, best known as the creator and director of GT Academy, was portrayed by Orlando Bloom in Gran Turismo. The vehicle had originally been black but after being prepared for the film was repainted white.

Cox says he decided to put the car up for auction as a way of marking a proud conclusion to his story with GT Academy and Nissan. The Gran Turismo film itself “has been an amazing exclamation mark on the project”, he says.

“I had the idea for this gamer-to-racer concept in 2005, 18 years ago. It’s been an amazing journey.

“When they tell you that there’s going to be a Hollywood movie about you and your project, and that Orlando Bloom is going to be playing you, it’s an amazing thing. It’s been very surreal. I’ve enjoyed the process of being involved in the film. I had a great time.”

Cox says he has a number of other cars in his collection but with the film’s release, it’s the perfect time to pass the car “to a great [new] home” and “move on to something else”.

The car’s price-guide puts it in the £225,000-£275,000 ($285,000-$348,000) range. However, the vehicle’s starring role in Gran Turismo, as well as on race tracks, might make the winning bid much higher. It isn’t unusual for cars used in films to fetch a pretty sum. This year, the Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R, driven by Paul Walker in Fast and Furious, was sold at auction for $1.3 million.

“For a lot of people, Gran Turismo, this film and the story is as impactful as Fast and Furious,” Cox says. “Also, Japanese cars from this era are going up massively in value.”

Cox says watching Gran Turismo has brought back memories from a very fond chapter in his life and has made him reconnect with others who took part in the GT Academy experience.

“It’s a lovely way of reflecting on it,” he says. “There have been lots of messages from people saying how much they enjoyed working on the project back in the day and thanking me for getting them involved. That’s been the biggest impact, just a real positive glow around people that remember the project fondly.”

Updated: August 24, 2023, 2:08 PM