Who will be the new Porsche junior for 2014 and secure 150,000 Euro in funding for next season’s Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland? At the finale on the circuit of the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben (Germany), the four finalists Michelle Gatting (19) from Denmark, Kelvin van der Linde (17) from South Africa, Sven Müller (21) from Germany and Frenchman Andrea Pizzitola (21) performed impressively clocking quick lap times. Over the next few days, the jury now faces a tough task. A decision will be made within the next two weeks.
Over the two-day selection process, the pilots took turns at the wheel of two, new 460 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars. Included were test drives and the simulation of an entire race weekend. In the free practice sessions, each aspirant had the chance to familiarise themselves with the new vehicle before demonstrating in the qualifying how skilled they were at getting the most out of fresh tyres. In the longer driving stints, the focus was on achieving consistent lap times as perfectly as possible. Between each driving session, the finalists analysed the recorded statistics with data engineers from Porsche Motorsport on the computer and were able to compare their laps to those of the reference driver Michael Christensen (23, Denmark). Christensen has received support as a Porsche junior since 2012 and is one of the fastest pilots in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, the flagship series of Porsche’s one-make cups.
“We noticed after the first few laps that all four drivers are highly talented,” says junior coach Sascha Maassen, who attends the race weekends as a consultant to all Porsche juniors. “The new 460 hp rear-wheel drive 911 GT3 Cup is unfamiliar territory for all four drivers. Michelle and Kelvin come from the VW Scirocco R Cup, Andrea and Sven from single-seater racing. It was remarkable how quickly they could adapt to the high-performance car.”
The data from all test laps will now be analysed at Porsche Motorsport in Weissach and compared with the sports medicine results. These have been previously recorded and evaluated in a comprehensive medical stress test at the University of Potsdam. The winner of the selection process will receive support as a Porsche junior in the Carrera Cup Deutschland for the 2014 season. In addition to financial help, the juniors benefit from a multifaceted off-track education. In addition to media and mental training, the drivers’ fitness is enhanced with a tailor-made training programme and regular performance assessments.
Porsche has intensively supported budding racing talents since 1997. The current Porsche works drivers Timo Bernhard, Marc Lieb, Patrick Long and Marco Holzer were trained as Porsche juniors to become professional race drivers. Aside from Michael Christensen, Austria’s Klaus Bachler (22), Connor de Phillippi (20) from America as well as Spaniard Alex Riberas (19) currently receive support as Porsche juniors.