The traditional route to a career in motorsport used to go something like this: karting, junior car racing, bigger car racing and then Formula 1, sports cars or some other paid racing driver series.

Either that, or have very rich parents.

Now though, with rapid progress in the world of simulation gaming, there’s another, arguably more affordable way in. Racing simulators.

Darlington-born 24-year-old Jann Mardenborough is the poster boy for this route. Winner of the 2011 GT Academy, he beat 90,000 fellow computer gamers to earn himself a professional racing seat with Nissan.

Five years on from his win, Mardenborough has progressed from being a wide-eyed hopeful to an ultra-cool professional driver, now competing in and currently leading the Super GT championship in Japan.