Three top Porsche Motorsport drivers on their road to success
How racing dreams started early for Michael Christensen, Kévin Estre and Thomas Preining
Porsche race drivers Kévin Estre, Thomas Preining and Michael Christensen
What do you need to become a top racing driver? How do you get there? And what attracts you in the first place? A trio of Porsche race stars explain
Ask any young racing driver about what they love most about motorsport and the thrill of driving and the competition is usually top of their list. But these are not the only attractions. A motor racing circuit on race weekend is a joyful assault on the senses. You’re assailed by the mighty roar of the engines and intermittent whirr of the wheel guns. And then there’s the evocative aroma of race fuel and the eye-popping array of colours that the cars, teams and spectators produce.  Bundle all these things up together and it’s easy to see why young drivers keep coming back for more – dreamers who carry on in pursuit of the ultimate dream. Of winning. 
Porsche 911 RSR wins at 2018 the Le Mans 24h
In 2018, Porsche Motorsport drivers Michael Christensen and Kévin Estre, along with fellow driver Laurens Vanthoor, took a famous victory in the GTE-Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the 911 RSR ‘Pink Pig’ Photo: Porsche
The essentials for motorsport successThree professional drivers who have been living such a dream since they were young men are Kévin Estre, Michael Christensen and Thomas Preining. All three are Porsche Motorsport drivers – Michael and Thomas were even Porsche Junior alumni in the early years of their racing career – who have racked up countless podium places and race victories over time.The sights, sounds and smells of racing – motorsport’s ever-present sensory overload – remain fiercely appealing to all three. Together, the three drivers undoubtedly embody the spirit of Racing Red – a Porsche paint colour that immediately catches the eye and helps boost the spirit. One that signals excitement, passion and desire. All things that have been essential throughout Kévin, Michael and Thomas’ journeys to motorsport success.
Three Porsche motor racing drivers wave trophies on podium
Kévin Estre (centre), flanked by teammates Laurens Vanthoor and André Lotterer, after winning the opening race of the 2024 World Endurance Championship in Qatar, driving a Porsche 963 for Porsche Penske Motorsport Photo: Porsche
In the case of Kévin and Michael, that success includes victory in the LM GTE-Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 in the inimitable Porsche 911 RSR ‘Pink Pig’. This dynamic duo can now be seen driving the gamechanging Porsche 963, one each, alongside their team mates, for Porsche Penske Motorsport in the 2024 World Endurance Championship. Meanwhile, young gun Thomas tore up the track in 2023 with the Manthey EMA team to take his debut title in Germany’s DTM series, the renowned touring car competition.Starting out as a Porsche Motorsport racing driverMoving from amateur to elite status in motorsport takes plenty of talent and at least as much determination. For French driver Kévin, life was about racing from a really early age, with race victories in karting quickly turning into titles, like the 2001 French Championship and 2004 European Championship.
Thomas Preining hugs DTM trophy and pumps first at camera
Thomas Preining’s career highlight so far is being crowned the 2023 DTM champion, one of the most competitive race series in world motorsport Photo: Porsche
Meanwhile, Thomas grew up with a motorcycle-racing father who passed his passion for speed onto his son. The Austrian was a pretty good footballer too – so much so that one day Thomas knew he had to choose which one of his two main passions he’d dedicate himself too. It was the magnetic pull of the track that won, of course.Having begun his senior career racing in Formula 4, Thomas boosted his motorsport dreams further in 2017 by winning the famed Porsche Junior Shoot-out. That relationship with Porsche motorsport continues to this day for Thomas – his 2023 DTM series title win came for the Manthey EMA team in a 911 GT3 R racecar.By contrast, Michael admits it wasn’t quite love at first drive for him. The Danish driver initially hadn’t planned on a racing career. Then, after trying out karting and not only enjoying it, but finding out that he was good at it, his path towards success was set. “One thing I learnt very late in my career is that nobody’s perfect,” says Michael, who was the 2005 Junior European Karting Champion. “But that’s ok as long as you know what you need to work on.”
Racing driver Michael Christensen sprays champagne on podium after race
Michael Christensen on the podium at the Hockenheimring in 2012 after his first race win as a Porsche Junior Photo: Porsche
Why the Porsche Carrera Cup series is importantAll three drivers say that their participation in the Porsche Carrera Cups and Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in the first part of their motorsport careers has been integral in them gaining the knowledge and experience needed to reach the top. In 2018, for example, Thomas dominated Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland to take the title, while Kévin says that winning the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland opened doors – he’s been a Porsche works driver since 2014. “The level was so high that I knew that if I won, I was going to have a chance with a professional team to be a works driver, which is what I’d wanted my whole life,” says Kévin.
Yellow and green ‘grello’ Porsche 911 GT3 R DTM racecar
Thomas Preining celebrates his 2023 DTM title win in his Manthey EMA Porsche 911 GT3 R Photo: Porsche
Three drivers from different backgrounds and different countries but with a shared experience. One where they’ve learnt to handle positive criticism, work as part of a team and, above all, never stopped believing in their ultimate dream. Because one day, you might just be living it.
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