The calendar of the international one-make cup series contested with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup will again include eight races run as part of the European Formula 1 race weekends. Porsche’s exemplary youth development initiative has served as a springboard into a professional racing career for the last 25 years. Many works drivers, world champions and Le Mans winners have emerged from this development programme. The new Porsche Junior will be announced shortly.
Demanding selection criteria
The candidates, who must be no older than 23 years, had to fulfil demanding criteria to receive an invitation to the selection process. The shootout took place on the 5.078-kilometre racetrack close to the Spanish city of Alcañiz. The prerequisites include a top-five result in one of Porsche’s more than 20 global one-make cup series. At the three-day showdown in Spain, the candidates’ driving skills were put to the test in changeable weather conditions. In addition to pure speed, the selection criteria include mental and physical fitness tests, an understanding of technology and an ability to work alongside race engineers as well as interacting with the media. The results, which will be analysed in detail over the next few days, provide a basis for selecting the new Porsche Junior.
The twelve candidates from around the world include 21-year-old Huub van Eijndhoven. The Dutchman was nominated by the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux. Sweden’s Hampus Ericsson is 19 years old and contested the 2021 Carrera Cup Scandinavia. Enzo Elias (19) flew the colours for Porsche Carrera Cup Brazil. The Italian Carrera Cup sent 19-year-old Alessandro Giardelli. Lorcan Hanafin turned heads in the Carrera Cup Great Britain. At 18 years of age, the British racing driver is the youngest of the fast dozen. Laurin Heinrich (20) contested the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. The German claimed the rookie classification title in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup this season and also won a race in the international series.
22-year-old Marvin Klein from France has also competed in the Supercup and has taken the crown in the French Carrera Cup. Australia’s Cooper Murray (20) took part in the selection process on the recommendation of his national Carrera Cup. The new Porsche Carrera Cup North America sent its champion, 20-year-old Sebastian Priaulx from Britain. With a wildcard, 20-year-old Kay van Berlo, Harry King (20) from Great Britain and the 19-year-old Italian Marzio Moretti round off the candidate list.
“Fast lap times provide a basis for choosing the new Porsche Junior, of course, but they are not the only criteria we take into account. We also look for a team player who can motivate the team and represent Porsche,” explains the Porsche Junior Coach Sascha Maassen. “It’s about the total package that the talented youngsters offer. We’ve given a great deal of attention to each of the twelve candidates and taken a close look at what they can achieve on and off the racetrack – what their capabilities are, how they develop mentally, how they interact with the engineers and how they come across in front of a camera. Everything is taken into account. We already know that these guys can drive. To choose just one new Porsche Junior out of these twelve is a big responsibility, which we take very seriously.”
In addition to financial support to contest a season in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, the sports car manufacturer’s sponsorship package follows a comprehensive approach that encompasses all aspects of a professional career in motorsport. Sascha Maassen plays a key role in this. As a driver coach, the former Porsche works driver is on hand to mentor the talented youngsters before, during and after the race. Moreover, the University of Potsdam provides sports medicine support. Media seminars and mental training as well as PR events and marketing activities are also part of the instruction content.
Porsche has supported talented young racing drivers since 1997. Until today, it has given 27 racing drivers a decisive career boost. Timo Bernhard (Porsche Junior 2000 to 2001), Marc Lieb (2000 to 2002) and Earl Bamber (2014) are prime examples: All three have won the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours with the Porsche 919 Hybrid at least once and have clinched titles in the FIA World Endurance Championship. In the 2021 season, five of the 15 Porsche works drivers and Porsche Young Professionals earned their stripes as Porsche Juniors. In 2019, Ayhancan Güven from Turkey was accepted into the sponsorship programme. In 2020, the selection process was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.