Eleven young upcoming racing drivers dream of taking the next step in their motor racing careers – to be accepted into the Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme. In their bid for this, the talented youngsters took part in a three-day selection process in the southern French town of Le Castellet. In addition to setting consistently fast lap times, the candidates focused on working with the Porsche engineers. On the 3.862-kilometre Circuit Paul Ricard near the Côte d’Azur, the aspirants competed against each other in identical 485 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racers. The international line-up of participants was nominated to take part in the shootout by the national Porsche one-make cup series around the world. The winner, who will be announced in a few weeks, receives support as a Porsche Junior for their 2019 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign.
The new Porsche Junior receives 225,000 Euro towards next season’s Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, which is run as a support series to Formula 1. In addition, Porsche Motorsport provides the successful applicant with a comprehensive training programme to become a professional racing driver. Aside from coaching on the racetrack, this support includes psychological training and media relations as well as an extensive fitness regime.
Larry ten Voorde has already gained experience in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. The Dutchman has just concluded his first full season in the international one-make cup and secured second place in the rookie class. In this season’s Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, ten Voorde achieved third overall. Philip Hamprecht knows the Supercup from selected guest appearances. This season, the German tackled the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and took home the vice-championship crown. The Japanese Carrera Cup nominated Yoshiaki Katayama. The 24-year-old finished the national one-make cup in sixth place. For the shootout, Bruno Baptista travelled to France from South America. The Brazilian contests his second season in GT racing – with two races left on the calendar of the Porsche Carrera Cup Brazil, he currently ranks fifth.
Ayhancan Güven from Turkey is turning heads in two Porsche one-make cup series: The young driver from Istanbul clinched both titles in the Porsche Carrera Cup France and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux. Setting the benchmark from Down Under was Jaxon Evans. The New Zealander won the Porsche Michelin Junior Programme Australia and secured first place in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia. Dylan O’Keeffe also comes from Australia’s one-make cup. In his homeland, the 20-year-old concluded the season in third place. Gianmarco Quaresmini represents Porsche Carrera Cup Italia and took home the championship title this year. Moreover, the 22-year-old from Brescia in Italy has underlined his potential at several Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup races.
The youngest candidate comes from the USA: Trenton Estep, just 18 years old, lives in San Antonio/Texas and is the newly crowned champion of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA. Lukas Sundahl also has a title under his belt. The Swede won this year’s Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia. Flying the UK flag, 25-year-old Lewis Plato achieved fourth in the Porsche Carrera Cup Great Britain.
“We’ve seen from the shootout that there are some very talented youngsters in our worldwide Porsche one-make cups. At Le Castellet we simulated a complete race weekend. Moreover, all drivers underwent medical examinations and had to prove themselves in interview situations in front of the camera. Now we’ll analyse all the data to see who has the greatest potential,” said Jennifer Biela-Moll, project manager of the Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme.
Scouting initiatives for up-and-coming young racing drivers have a long tradition at Porsche. Many scholarship recipients have managed to climb the career ladder to become professional drivers in GT championships around the world. Out of the current squad of works drivers and Porsche Young Professionals, Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (D), Michael Christensen (DK), Patrick Long (USA), Sven Müller (D) as well as Matt Campbell (AUS), Matteo Cairoli (I), Mathieu Jaminet (F) and Dennis Olsen (N) all received training in the Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme.