Young Australian Matt Campbell has completed the most important driving test of his life in Germany’s Lausitzring with the intent to become a Porsche Junior driver in 2017 and compete in next year’s Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup alongside Formula 1.
The 21-year-old from Warwick, Queensland, who currently leads the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship, was one of nine talented young drivers from Porsche’s worldwide one-make race series showcasing their skills on and off the track in Germany. All aged 24 and under, the emerging talents were gunning for the ultimate prize – to be selected into the Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme, collect 200,000 Euros from Porsche towards a Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign and receive support in the fields of fitness, personal development, media relations and driver coaching.
“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all nine of us and highlights how it’s possible to rise through the ranks of Porsche racing. Two seasons ago I was racing in GT3 Cup Challenge Australia and, across the past two days, I was auditioning to become a Porsche Junior. It’s unbelievable,” said Campbell.
“The Shootout was a tremendous experience and a great privilege to represent Carrera Cup Australia and demonstrate my skills alongside some of the best young Porsche drivers in the world. Without racing Carrera Cup I would never have been given this opportunity.”
To start with, the young drivers had to prove themselves at the wheel of the 460 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup on the racetrack. In this regard the talented racers already have a great deal of experience from their respective Porsche one-make series. Two years ago, Campbell took on Porsche Carrera Cup Australia and now, with six races still on this season’s calendar, the Australian currently leads the championship. Frenchman Joffrey De Narda (21) from Plappeville in the region of Lothringen was nominated by Porsche Carrera Cup France, where he ranks fourth with four races to go. Mattia Drudi (18) from Italy contests the Porsche Carrera Cup Italia. He has obviously inherited his racing gene from his father Luca, who back in 2002 clinched class victory at Le Mans with Porsche. Young Drudi lives right next to the Italian Misano race circuit and grew up with the sound of engines. In the Italian one-make cup he currently sits third with three races left.
The Canadian Scott Hargrove lives in Tsawwassen close to Vancouver. He has just finished the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada, where the 21-year-old concluded the 2016 season as vice champion. Porsche Carrera Cup Japan put forward 23-year-old Yuichi Mikasa from Utsunomiya, who ranks second with one round left on the championship calendar. Sweden’s Philip Morin (20) was nominated by Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia and also took home runner-up honours this season.
Twenty-one-year-old Andrew Tang from Singapore and 24-year-old Zhang Da Sheng from China took part as representatives of Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. In the Asian series, they still have three races to contest, with Tang currently on fourth place and Da Sheng on fifth. Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain nominated Dino Zamparelli. The 23 year old was born in Bristol and began racing at the age of ten. He currently ranks second in the British championship.
“We have strong driver line-up from the international Porsche one-make race series this year. The ultimate decision on who we choose will not be an easy one for us. We look at the driving performance as well as the development potential of each individual pilot. And we also take into account their abilities away from the racetrack. No matter who wins in the end, everyone who has made it this far deserves it thanks to their tremendous efforts and an outstanding season,” says Andrea Hagenbach, the Head of the Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme.
The new Porsche Junior will be announced in a few weeks after extensive evaluation of all data and factors.