For the past 26 years, the sports car manufacturer’s model junior program has been one of the most successful of its kind in motorsports. This initiative paved the way for many talented youngsters to pursue professional careers as works drivers, producing several world champions and Le Mans winners in the process. The successful candidate will receive a sponsorship package of up to €225,000. The new Porsche Jr. will be announced at the Night of Champions on December 17thThe tenth at the Porsche Development Center in Weissach.
All of the invited candidates had these factors in common: They were under 24 and had finished in the top five in one of the more than 30 Porsche single-make Cup series around the world last year, driving a 911 GT3 Cup. They all had to show their mettle inside And outside the 4.428 kilometer Grand Prix circuit. The judging panel considered not only their lap times and overall performance on the track, but also their interactions with the race engineers, their technical proficiency, their interactions with the media as well as their mental and physical test results. In the coming days, an extensive analysis of the results and the results collected will serve as the basis for determining who will be allowed to compete as the new Porsche Junior in 2023.
Of all twelve young drivers from ten countries, Australian Harry Jones has made the longest ride. The 23-year-old won the Carrera Cup in his home country in 2022. Le Caillou, also 23, traveled to Spain from China as runners-up in the Asian Carrera Cup. Dorian Boccallaci finished second in the French Carrera Cup. The 24-year-old Frenchman has already gained experience in the Porsche Mobil 1 SuperCup. This season he finished seventh.
The same applies to Bastien Boss. The busy driver from Denmark was nominated for the junior shootout via the German Carrera Cup after finishing fourth overall. At the same time, he competed in the French Carrera Cup and the Super Cup, where the 19-year-old scored two victories and was named the best debutant. At 20, Kern Joyce won the Great Britain Carrera Cup in his home country. The Keagan Masters of South Africa (22) represented Italy’s Carrera Cup as runner-up.
Kai van Berlo of the Netherlands, Enzo Elías of Brazil and Harry King (UK) participated in the selection process for the second time. In North American Carrera Cup competition, 21-year-old Van Berlo finished his season in second place. At the age of 20, Elias can already look back on winning two Carrera Cup titles in his home country, while Harry King won the Benelux Carrera Cup and finished fifth in the Porsche Mobil 1 Cup.
Among the fast paced dozens of participants were Dutch Luc Hartog, Giorgio Amati from Italy, and Jacin Ferrati from Switzerland. At 20 years old and almost two meters tall, Hartog finished the Deutschland Carrera Cup season in fifth place and the Super Cup in eighth place as the second-best rookie. Amati (23) finished his second season in Italy’s Carrera Cup in fourth place, while Ferrati was the youngest of the 12 rookie drivers. The 19-year-old won the GT3 Cup classification at the Porsche Sprint Challenge Switzerland.
The successful Porsche Junior program reaches far beyond financial support. The comprehensive concept focuses on all aspects of a motorsport career. This includes, for example, the comprehensive support provided by Sascha Maassen. The former Porsche driver works to mentor the youngsters before, during and after every race weekend. The University of Potsdam supports sports medicine. Mental coaching, informational seminars, public relations commitments, and other marketing activities are also part of the training regimen.
“Porsche has provided the most even playing field in Jerez, so it’s the people involved in the penalty shootout who make the difference,” asserts Maassen. “We have a great responsibility in choosing the new Porsche Junior, and we take great care in doing so. Of course, fast lap times and performance as flawless as possible with the 911 GT3 Cup are important to us – that’s the basis. But we look about Closer attention to how the talented drivers behave next: what feedback they give the engineers and their ability to learn, whether they can motivate a team and represent Porsche, how they handle media, whether they are able to develop mentally.In the end, it’s all about the package comprehensive provided by the participant.
Porsche’s Junior program has fostered the careers of 28 racing drivers since 1997. Of particular note are the careers of today’s Porsche brand ambassador Timo Bernard (Porsche Jr. from 2000 to 2001), Marc Lieb (2000 to 2002) and Earl Bamber (2014): all three won He has won the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race at least once with a Porsche 919 Hybrid, as well as titles in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Thomas Preining, Porsche Jr. from 2017 to 2018, took two DTM victories this year with the 911 GT3 R.
At the end of 2021, Lorraine Heinrich was selected from Würzburg. The 21-year-old finished the current season as the Carrera Deutschland Cup champion and finished third in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. Heinrich attended a shootout in Jerez as a reference driver.
“We are very proud of the Porsche Junior Concept – it is one of the most successful youth programs in motorsport,” confirms Marc Lieb, one of the first participants in this talent development initiative, and the current Director of Sports Communications at Porsche. “This program also played an important role in my career and opened the door to professional motorsport 22 years ago. Without this support, my dream of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans might not have come true.”