20 years of Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. The world’s fastest international one-make race series celebrates its anniversary. As a support race to the Formula 1 weekend in Hockenheim, the 212th round in Supercup history will be contested. It is also the seventh race of an enthralling season in which the fight for the title is coming to a head: Just one point separates series’ leader René Rast (Germany) from his hottest rivals Sean Edwards (Great Britain) and Norbert Siedler (Austria). In Hockenheim, the leading trio encounter a new, prominent competitor: Ex-Formula 1 pilot Nick Heidfeld makes his Supercup debut as a guest driver at the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
The success story of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup began on 25 April 1993 in Imola. In the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Uwe Alzen won the inaugural race of the new series run as support to the Grand Prix of Europe - a series that has blossomed in the exclusive setting of Formula 1. With gripping races and tight fights for the titles, the Porsche Supercup has enthralled fans – first in Europe and later around the globe. In 1999, the Supercup took the 911 GT3 Cup racers to Melbourne, Australia. In 2000 the series followed Formula 1 to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Expanding into new markets, the Porsche Supercup travelled to the desert kingdom of Bahrain for the first time in 2005, and in 2009 Porsche fans in Abu Dhabi were treated to a modern 1001 nights fairy tale. All in all, 20 race tracks have featured on the Supercup calendar, including the legendary Nürburgring-Nordschleife in 2011, where the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup raced as part of the unparalleled Porsche Carrera World Cup, the greatest Porsche race ever.
“The Supercup is the pinnacle of our one-make series. In our motorsport pyramid, the makes cups hold a central role, because they constitute the bridge from club sport to professional motorsport,” says Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport. “That’s why even in difficult times Porsche always stood firmly behind the Supercup concept. This message was heard by our teams and partners and has established a lasting foundation of trust which made this success over so many years possible.”
The manager of the Porsche Supercup from its inauguration in 1993 to 1995 was Jost Capito. As his successor, Uwe Brettel paved the way for worldwide expansion from 1996 to April 2003. Thomas Felbermayr moved into the role from May 2003 to 2004, before Jens Walther took over as head of the world’s fastest one-make race series in 2005. After his promotion to President of Porsche Motorsports North America in 2011, Jonas Krauss now heads the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
One of the secrets of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup’s success is the loyalty of the teams and partners, some of whom have been involved with the series for many years. Another is the regulations that stipulate equality of chances. All Porsche 911 GT3 Cup sports cars fielded in the series are 100 per cent technically identical. With more units built than any other race car in the world, this top-selling 450 hp racer is based on the street-legal lightweight 911 GT3 RS sports car. All Cup vehicles also have control tyres and identical fuel. This leads to enormously close racing. Everyone has the same chance – the best wins.
Traditionally, the field is made up of seasoned campaigners and ambitious young hotshots. For many internationally successful GT pilots, the Supercup proved to be a launching platform for their careers. Today’s Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister, Wolf Henzler, Timo Bernhard and Marc Lieb managed the breakthrough with consistently good performances in the Supercup. Looking to the future as well, the Supercup is a part of Porsche’s reinstated junior programme. The Porsche Juniors Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Klaus Bachler (Austria), who normally contest the Carrera Cup Deutschland, now get the chance in Hockenheim to gain more invaluable experience against proven Supercup specialists.
Many drivers have written Supercup history. Dutchman Patrick Huisman for instance. With 24 victories and four championship titles, he is by far the most successful Supercup pilot. Germany’s Wolf Henzler also holds a record. In his title winning year of 2004, Henzler notched up nine victories from twelve races. The most successful guest driver is double Formula 1 World Champion Mika Häkkinen, who dominated in Monaco and Budapest in 1993. A total of 30 Grand Prix pilots have contested the Porsche Supercup – the 31st is Nick Heidfeld. Another Supercup record holder is René Rast: The title defender has turned 15 fastest race laps by now, sharing this feat with Frenchman Emmanuel Collard. And the double Supercup champion could easily add more to this excellent tally. With a total of 18 victories, he is hot on the heels of Patrick Huisman, and with 17 pole positions he is just one adrift of “Mr. Supercup” from the Netherlands.
Porsche celebrates the Supercup anniversary in Hockenheim with former and current teams and drivers as well as many guests of honour. The highlight comes on Sunday with round seven of the season taking off right before the German Grand Prix. With 29 competitors, it promises to be packed with drama and thrills. For all those who are not able to make it to Hockenheim, TV stations Eurosport 2 (11.45 hrs) and Sky (11.40 hrs) broadcast the race live. Eurosport 1 also covers the race on Sunday at the later time of 13.00 hrs.