Five head to Silverstone for Porsche Carrera Cup GB Junior shootout
The final stage of the 2017/18 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Junior selection process will take place at Silverstone on Tuesday 31 October and Wednesday 1 November when five finalists will be put through a challenging assessment programme that takes place over a gruelling 24 hours.
The talented quintet of Jamie Caroline (18, Warlingham), George Gamble (21, Nottingham), Daniel Harper (16, Hillsborough), Esmee Hawkey (19, Chislehurst) and Dean Macdonald (16, Kelty) was selected following interviews which took place at the beginning of October. 12 contenders were invited to interview at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone from a record 40 international applicants, but in addition to quantity, the quality was also at a record high.
James MacNaughton, Motorsport Manager, Porsche Cars Great Britain, commented: “The number of applications we received from all around the world – almost double the number from 2015 – was incredible, and a testament to the position Porsche Carrera Cup GB enjoys in global sports car racing. However, it made it no easy task for us to select the 12 for interview, let alone the final five who will be joining us at Silverstone.
“The five finalists all have a very different range of motorsport experience, but at the interview stage we were exceptionally impressed by their achievements and enthusiasm for becoming part of the Porsche Motorsport pyramid. We’re very excited to see how they perform at the assessment and to watch them develop throughout the various stages of the day. There’s no doubt that we’re assessing five of the most determined and capable drivers.”
The focus of the assessment will be a programme of timed laps in the second generation of ‘Type 991’ Porsche 911 GT3 Cup around the Silverstone National circuit, all the while under the expert eyes of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB technical team. In order to determine potential as well as current ability, under scrutiny is more than just lap times. A core component of the test comprises data analysis, feedback and interaction with the engineers.
In addition, the five finalists will take on a several high-intensity fitness evaluation tests with the experts at Porsche Human Performance and participate in a media workshop with the TOCA race weekend team, all at the Porsche Experience Centre. The results from across every aspect will assist in finding the next Junior for the fastest single marque GT racing championship in the UK, the Porsche Carrera Cup GB.
The programme, formerly known as the Scholarship, now aligns in name as well as purpose with the career development opportunities provided internationally by Porsche for young drivers. The purpose behind offering one of the largest prizes in UK motorsport is to identify and nurture young racing talent, and to support an entry into to the Porsche Motorsport pyramid. Highlighting the opportunity provided by the international programmes for career development is the current roster of Porsche factory drivers - over half are former Juniors.
Former Porsche Carrera Cup GB Scholar Josh Webster (2014/15) and outgoing Scholar Charlie Eastwood (2016/17) both excelled during their time with the championship. Webster broke multiple records in 2014 on his way to becoming the youngest ever champion, and currently lies fourth in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Rookie standings. Eastwood took the Rookie title in his first season before claiming the overall title in his second. Both champions will be on hand to offer expert opinion and guidance throughout the selection process.
Jamie Caroline, a three-time British karting champion, arrives as British F4 champion after just two years in single-seaters. George Gamble brings with him predominantly sports car experience, the 2014 Ginetta GT5 champion most recently completing the 2017 Ginetta GT4 Supercup season in third. Daniel Harper combined karting and quadbike titles with a spell in rallying to place second in the 2017 Ginetta Junior championship. Esmee Hawkey converted success in karts into success in sports cars, most recently taking the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport to multiple victories in the GTA category of GT Cup. At just 16 years old, in 2017 Dean Macdonald moved to British GT4 as a multiple karting champion.
The finalists will face an anxious wait until the Porsche Carrera Cup GB end-of-season awards on 11 November when the 2018/19 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Junior will be announced. In addition to the £85,000 budget contribution per season, the Junior will receive one-to-one support from Porsche Motorsport engineers, experts in data analysis and the 911 GT3 Cup, as well as a fully-funded drive in the Silverstone round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup in 2019. Assisting with the physical demands of competing, the Porsche Human Performance team will create a full fitness programme and be on hand throughout.