“We are pleased to be able to further expand our young driver scheme and to support four talented international youngsters,” says Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser. “The Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland and the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup have proved to be excellent training grounds for tomorrow’s sports car professionals. A prime example of this is Earl Bamber’s career. We supported him as a junior in 2014 and just one year later he scored overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
Dennis Olsen came out on top in a demanding multi-level selection process against more than 100 young pilots and displayed top form at the shoot-out on the Lausitzring. Amongst the drivers, who have no experience as yet in GT racing, the Norwegian put in a convincing performance in both dry and wet track conditions. At a test run in the 460 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, each of the talented youngsters had the same number of tyres at their disposal and worked together with Porsche engineers on setting up the vehicle. Dennis Olsen, who contested the Formula Renault 2.0 in the 2015 season, will receive funding of 150,000 Euro towards his Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland campaign.
Aside from funding, he and the other junior drivers receive assistance similar to the internationally successful Porsche factory pilots. Fitness tests with constantly adapted training plans as well as media coaching and sponsor obligations are also part of the programme. Junior coach Sascha Maassen, himself a very successful Porsche race driver during his active racing career, is on hand as a mentor to the talented youngsters. Nevertheless, the programme Porsche offers its juniors is not an all-inclusive package. On the contrary: the youngsters must show initiative. They have to seek out their own team and engineers and also find additional sponsors to fund their season.
200,000 Euro for a Supercup season
A second shoot-out was organised for pilots who have already gained some GT experience in Porsche’s one-make series worldwide. Among the nominated candidates from individual countries and regions was Mathieu Jaminet. The young Frenchman, who was put forward by Porsche Carrera Cup France, impressed the jury with his performance both on and off the racetrack. With a grant of 200,000 Euro, he gets the chance to prove himself in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. Jaminet will tackle Porsche’s flagship championship alongside the two other Porsche-supported pilots, Cairoli and Müller, who also contest the series run as support to all European Formula 1 rounds. The Italian won the rookie classification of the Supercup in 2015, with the German securing runner-up honours, after a strong performance in the second half of the season, which saw him earn victories at Budapest and Spa as well as both Monza races.
Porsche’s young driver initiative, which began in 1997 with the UPS Porsche Junior team, is a model of success. All drivers who have received support from Porsche have managed to climb the ranks to become professional race drivers. This list includes Le Mans overall winners such as Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Mike Rockenfeller, winners of the American Le Mans Series like Lucas Luhr, and drivers such as Marc Lieb, Patrick Long, Marco Holzer, Martin Ragginger, Dirk Müller, Lance-David Arnold and Jan Seyffahrth, who celebrated successes at international long distance race series as well as at 24 hour events, for instance on the Nürburgring.
The Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme gives drivers the chance to advance from the worldwide Porsche Carrera Cups into the international Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and continue on to top-level motor racing, for instance as works drivers. Consequently, the Supercup serves as a springboard for a career in professional motor racing.
Promotion in record time
Earl Bamber is the perfect example of a successful career within the Porsche motorsport pyramid. The New Zealander began his career as a Porsche privateer in the GT3 Cup Challenge New Zealand before switching to the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. There, he secured the title in 2013 and was nominated for the talent search for the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. Competing as a Porsche Junior, Earl Bamber won the Supercup in 2014 and successfully defended his title in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. This earned him a contract as a works driver. At the wheel of a Porsche 919 Hybrid he won the world’s most famous long distance race in June 2015, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A promotion in record time.