Twelve candidates have one goal: New Porsche Junior in the Supercup
Twelve racing drivers took part in a selection programme at the Portuguese racetrack in Portimão to become the new Porsche Junior. The driver chosen by Porsche will receive a comprehensive sponsorship package that includes 225,000 euros for a season in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. The talented youngsters nominated to participate were Vitor Baptista (Brazil), Diego Bertonelli (Italy), Hugo Chevalier (France), Roman De Angelis (Canada), George Gamble (Great Britain), Ayhancan Güven (Turkey), Robin Hansson (Sweden), Jordan Love (Australia), Daniel Lu (China), Dylan Pereira (Luxemburg), Ukyō Sasahara (Japan) and Max van Splunteren (Netherlands).
Over three days, the sponsorship candidates had the chance to demonstrate their prowess. During a simulated racing weekend at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, which included a practice, qualifying and race, they not only had to display their driving skills, but also aspects such as technical understanding, interaction with the engineers, dealing with the media and physical fitness. The drivers, who were selected for their outstanding performances in their respective Porsche national one-make cups, exhibited a high driving standard in the 485 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
All candidates had to fulfil certain requirements. They had to be 23 years or younger, finish a national Porsche one-make cup in the top five and pass a medical check-up. The international group of candidates included 21-year-old Vitor Baptista, who was nominated by Carrera Cup Brazil. Diego Bertonelli is 21 years old and competed in the Porsche Carrera Cup Italia. Nineteen-year-old Hugo Chevalier from the Carrera Cup France as well as the Canadian Roman De Angelis came to Portimão as wildcards. The Carrera Cup Great Britain sent George Gamble (23). The 21-year-old Turk Ayhancan Güven travelled to the Algarve as the winner of the Carrera Cup France. Robin Hansson from Sweden (22) flew the flag for the Scandinavian Carrera Cup. Carrera Cup Australia put forward the 20-year-old Jordan Love. At only 18-years-old, Daniel Lu from China was the youngest participant at the shootout and represented the Carrera Cup Asia. Dylan Pereira (22) from Luxembourg received a nomination from the Carrera Cup Deutschland and Ukyō Sasahara (23) from the Carrera Cup Japan. The 23-year-old Dutchman Max van Splunteren represented the Carrera Cup Benelux.
The selection of the new Porsche Junior will be based on the collected data, which will be evaluated in the coming days. In addition to financial backing for the season, the sponsorship programme includes support from the former Porsche works driver Sascha Maassen as a driver coach at all race weekends of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. Similar to the Porsche works drivers, the successful candidate receives sports medicine and sports training-related mentoring from the University of Potsdam. Media seminars and mental fitness training are also part of the instruction content on the path to becoming a professional racing driver. Moreover, the Porsche Juniors will be involved in marketing activities and PR appointments.
Traditionally, Porsche has sponsored young racing drivers since 1997 and supports them in their climb up the motorsport career ladder. A prime example is Earl Bamber, who worked his way up through the ranks of Porsche’s motorsport pyramid from a national Cup Challenge to become a works driver. Bamber was selected as a Porsche Junior in 2013. Two years later he won the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans in the Porsche 919 Hybrid. In 2017, he secured another Le Mans victory, and in 2019 he won the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Nine of the current Porsche works drivers and Porsche Young Professionals are former Porsche Juniors.