Gran Turismo True Story Death: Real-Life Crash and Tragedy

Gran Turismo, a beloved video game series by Polyphony Digital, was transformed into a gripping movie in 2023. Directed by Neill Blomkamp, the film captivated audiences with its thrilling races and compelling storyline. But one aspect of the movie that drew significant attention was the tragic event depicted within it. This article delves into the true story behind Gran Turismo, exploring the real-life events that inspired the film and addressing the questions surrounding the depicted death. Gran Turismo True Story Death

What is the True Story Behind Gran Turismo?

The movie Gran Turismo is based on the extraordinary journey of Jann Mardenborough, a British teenager who transitioned from being a Gran Turismo player to a professional racing driver through the GT Academy. The film showcases his intense training, his struggles, and his ultimate triumphs in the racing world. However, it’s not just a tale of success but also one of deep tragedy and controversy.

Was the Death in Gran Turismo Real?

One of the most heart-wrenching moments in the film is the depiction of a fatal crash. This scene is based on a real-life accident that occurred in 2015 during the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Jann Mardenborough’s car became airborne and crashed into the spectator area, resulting in the death of one spectator and injuries to several others. The incident was a devastating moment in Mardenborough’s career and life, profoundly affecting him and the entire racing community.

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Is Matty Davis a Real Person in Gran Turismo?

In the film, Matty Davis is a character portrayed to bring emotional depth to the narrative. While Matty Davis adds a personal dimension to the story, he is not a real person. Instead, his character represents the emotional and psychological impact that such tragic events have on drivers and their families. This creative choice helps to highlight the human element behind the high-speed world of racing.

What Happens to the Kid in Gran Turismo?

The character of Jann Mardenborough, played by Archie Madekwe, is central to the movie’s plot. As a young racer, Jann faces numerous challenges and setbacks. The tragic crash at Nürburgring is a pivotal moment that shapes his journey. Despite the horrific accident, Jann’s resilience and determination to continue racing are inspirational. The film portrays his journey with sensitivity, focusing on his struggles and growth as both a racer and a person.

Gran Turismo True Story Accident: Who Died?

The tragic accident depicted in Gran Turismo is a reflection of the real incident where a spectator lost their life. The spectator’s identity was kept private out of respect for the family, but the impact of this loss was felt deeply within the racing community. The film attempts to pay homage to this individual while also raising awareness about the inherent dangers of motorsport.

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Key Facts About the Film “Gran Turismo”

To provide a complete picture, here are some key facts about the movie:

  • Title: Gran Turismo
  • Director: Neill Blomkamp
  • Screenplay: Jason Hall and Zach Baylin
  • Story By: Jason Hall and Alex Tse
  • Producers: Doug Belgrad, Asad Qizilbash, Carter Swan, Dana Brunetti
  • Based on: Gran Turismo video game series by Polyphony Digital
  • Main Cast: Archie Madekwe, David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Darren Barnet, Geri Halliwell Horner, Djimon Hounsou
  • Cinematography: Jacques Jouffret
  • Music: Lorne Balfe, Andrew Kawczynski
  • Production Companies: Columbia Pictures, PlayStation Productions, 2.0 Entertainment
  • Distributor: Sony Pictures Releasing
  • Release Dates:
    • July 30, 2023, at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
    • August 25, 2023, in the United States
    • September 15, 2023, in Japan
  • Running Time: 134 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Budget: $60 million
  • Box Office: $122.1 million

Plot Summary

Gran Turismo follows the story of Jann Mardenborough, a teenager whose skills in the video game lead him to a career in professional racing. The film covers his journey from being a gamer to facing real-life racing challenges, including the infamous Nürburgring crash. Despite the mixed critical response, the film has been praised for its direction and racing sequences, bringing the high-octane world of motorsports to life.

Development and Production

The idea for the film was first announced in 2013. After years of development, filming took place in Hungary and wrapped up in December 2022. Jann Mardenborough was heavily involved, serving as a co-producer and stunt double for his character. This ensured that the racing scenes were as authentic as possible, providing a real sense of the dangers and thrills of professional racing.

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Release and Reception

Gran Turismo premiered at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and was later released in the United States and Japan. It grossed $122.1 million worldwide. While the film received mixed reviews, it was praised for its racing sequences and direction. However, the depiction of Mardenborough’s crash drew criticism for being seen as insensitive to the real-life tragedy.

Controversy and Criticism

The film’s portrayal of the Nürburgring crash sparked controversy. Critics argued that the scene was handled insensitively, given the real-life fatality involved. Despite this, the filmmakers aimed to balance the thrill of racing with the serious risks it entails. The controversy highlights the fine line filmmakers must tread when depicting real-life events, especially those involving loss and tragedy.


Gran Turismo is more than just a movie about racing; it’s a story of dreams, challenges, and the harsh realities of the sport. The tragic accident at Nürburgring is a somber reminder of the dangers involved in racing, but it also underscores the resilience and determination of drivers like Jann Mardenborough. By understanding the true story behind Gran Turismo, we gain a deeper appreciation for the human elements that make this film a powerful and moving experience.

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Jeremy Jahns Expert Movie Reviewer and Critic
I am Jeremy Jahns - Your Cinematic Explorer Immerse in movie reviews, Hollywood insights, and behind-the-scenes stories.

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