Lesley-Anne Mardenborough is the mother of the British professional racing driver, Jann Mardenborough. The movie Gran Turismo, based on her son’s life, was a big hit at the box office and brought them into the spotlight. One of the story’s major plots is Jann’s relationship with his parents too.
Since then, fans’ interest in knowing more about his bond with his mom and dad has grown. With that in mind, let’s find out what the real Lesley thinks about her son’s career and what she has been up to recently.
Lesley-Anne Mardenborough Calls Her Son’s Success A Fairy Story
As a mother, Lesley always praises her son and often calls her son’s story a fairy tale. And that’s quite true. Jann’s story is quite a fascinating one. He was born in Darlington, County Durham, as a son of former professional footballer, Steve Mardenborough. The boy was obsessed with cars and spent a lot of time indoors playing video games.
According to Lesley, her son was “not particularly outgoing and quite a homeboy.”
Jann became interested in racing through the game Gran Turismo. He used to play it a lot at his neighbor’s house. After a while, they got annoyed and just donated him the PlayStation. The boy would get his first experience at racing sometime after that at a friend’s birthday party.
His father, Steve, took him to Pembrey Circuit, their local circuit, where he would get his go-karting license. The owner really liked him and said he was a natural. However, that stopped in due time as the track shut down, and the nearest one was in Bristol. Plus, it became expensive.
He then began indulging more in his video game. In 2011, Jann, aged 19, entered an online competition on Gran Turismo 5 that offered one shot at the real thing. He beat 90,000 other virtual racers and got a chance to test himself with a real car at Brands Hatch.
The prodigy passed the test and later, at Silverstone, beat 11 other finalists to become a GT Academy driver. After six months, he was trained to become a real race car driver and finally achieved his childhood dream. Pondering upon the details of this miracle, Lesley called her son’s success a “Fairy Story.”
Jann’s Mother Lesley-Anne Was Concerned About His Career In The Beginning
Jann technically found out that karting offered a viable path to car racing at one of his mother’s work functions, which took place on a racing track. So, he has her to thank for that too.
The fact that Jann was spending an unhealthy amount of time on his PlayStation bothered Lesley during the early days. In fact, she could have put the brakes on his career if she wanted. According to The Telegraph, she threatened to switch off the internet connection to stop him from playing the game.
Remembering those times, Lesley had this to say in 2012:
Of course, in the early days, we did have concerns over the amount of time he spent on the PlayStation, but I’m so glad he put the hours in now
The Mother-Son Duo Share A Loving Bond
The driver and his mom are awfully close, and it shows on his social media handles. He is very chirpy and makes a joke or two about them. His relationship with his father is also very good. However, as per him, his mother is his number one fan.
— Jann Mardenborough (@Jannthaman) March 6, 2016
Ironically, his parents had to explain the new F1 qualifying system back in 2016, of which he had no idea.
As stated earlier, Jann’s familial life gained attention after the release of his movie, and it has some inaccuracies. The racer’s relationship with his father was overly dramatized for the sake of the film. But in reality, the two respect each other. Furthermore, all of the members of his household came to support him during the races.
Lesley is very much concerned about his safety and well-being, given that Jann is a real driver now. Accidents tend to happen, as happened at Nurburgring when his Nissan went off the track and killed a fan after striking them. The racer’s mother was worried initially but relieved that her son was alive and had sustained no injuries.
Lesley-Anne Mardenborough Was Happy With Geri Halliwell’s Performance
As mentioned above, the movie Gran Turismo takes inspiration from Jann’s life. A lot of talented actors were involved in the movie, including Geri Halliwell, one of the Spice Girls. The wife of Christian Horner, Principal of Red Bull Racing, played the role of Lesley in the movie.
Fans and critics alike, including Lesley herself, were impressed.
Both the son and mother were in awe of the singer’s performance, especially at the crash scene when Lesley reacted to the sight of her son coming close to death. According to Jann’s interview with The Sun,
She loved it. She had her phone number and they would be speaking regularly. Geri would want to know how I would act in this situation
Lesley would also later star as herself in the racing documentary Le Mans with her son.
What Is The Racer’s Mom Lesley Doing Now?
Like how Jann was only obsessed with cars, the mother, too, maintained a sole line of work throughout her life. Lesley has over 30 years of experience in payroll. She has been a payroll manager for the Vectura Group in Chippenham, England, since July 2021.
She started her career working for the Campbell Bewley Group located in Barry, Wales, from 1998 to 2000. Then, she joined the company 118118 in Wales in January 2000 and operated there till October 2011.
Her last venture before joining Vectura was at the SA Brain and Company in Wales, where she fulfilled her duties from March 2013 to September 2021.