Young Carrera Cup Drivers Battle to join the Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme
Nine of the most promising young drivers from Porsche’s worldwide one-make race series have been brought together to showcase their skills on the Lausitzring circuit in Eastern Germany. For all of them there was just one clear objective: To be chosen to join the Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme. In addition to this already considerable opportunity, the driver judged to be the best among the field will also receive 200,000 Euros to put towards a Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign and support in the fields of fitness, psychological training, media relations and driver coaching.
Taking place on the 28th and 29th of September, the nine young racing drivers were tasked with proving themselves on track behind the wheel of the familiar 460hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. As well as overall pace, the judges were also looking for other sparks of technical talent both on and off the track. And there is certainly plenty of talent among the nine divers selected to take part.
From Carrera Cup GB is GT Porsche’s very own contributor and recently crowned runner-up in the UK’s series, Dino Zamparelli. At 23 years of age and with 13 years under his belt, he has consistently shown himself to be one of the fastest and most consistent drivers in the Porsche Carrera Cup field. Having won three races and topped the leader board for a good portion of the season, Dino, in his GT Marques 911 GT3 Cup, eventually finished second behind Carrera Cup GB stalwart, Dan Cammish.
Speaking about the international show down, Dino said;
“I had a great experience going to the Lausitzring for the Porsche Junior Shootout. We flew out on Sunday evening and met up in the hotel for some dinner. I got to know everybody there and then it was on track action on Monday and Tuesday. My understanding was that they analyse every aspect of you as a racing driver, from how you present yourself to how you talk, to how you drive…obviously! So I made sure I was my usual self, relaxed and showed them all what I was capable of.
“On Monday – there were three brand new Porsche 911 Cup Cars laid out in the garage; I was in the middle one along with two other drivers. The other six would share the other two cars. I didn’t know the circuit at all, so I had to get up to speed really quickly in the warm-up sessions. We all did a total of three warm up runs, with around eight laps in each. After that, it was straight onto a new set of tyres to get up to speed with some fresh new rubber! And then, it was the all-important ‘Qualifying Simulation’, where we put on another new set of tyres and simulated our qualifying pace. This was all about going as fast as you could over one lap. This sounds simple, but there are a lot of elements you have to make sure are right before you can do that…for example, you have to make sure the tyres have been warmed up properly, the braking balance is set correctly for you, the brakes are warm, and that you can then go on to nail the lap without any errors!
“Then on Tuesday, we had another quick warm up, before simulating a ‘Race Run Sim’, where we did around 18 laps in a row and simulate how quick we would be in a race situation.
“I think I did a pretty good job overall. I didn’t crash it, which is always a good sign! I made sure I was fast, consistent and kept on showing that I was learning and progressing. I was happy with my performance and satisfied I gave it everything. We now will wait until the end of the month or until November to find out who the winner will be. However, I’m confident that whatever the outcome, I did both myself and Carrera Cup GB proud!”
Joining Dino were a host of drivers from across the world – all of whom had to be under the age of 24 to qualify. From Warwick, Australia, is 21-year-old Matt Campbell who first took on the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia in 2014. He currently leads the domestic Australian championship with a comfortable margin with six races left to go (at the time of writing). Frenchman Joffrey De Narda (21) from Plappeville in the region of Lothringen was nominated by Porsche Carrera Cup France, where he ranks second with two races to go. Mattia Drudi (18) from Italy contests the Porsche Carrera Cup Italia. He has obviously inherited his racing gene from his father Luca, who back in 2002 clinched class victory at Le Mans with Porsche. In the Italian one-make cup he currently sits third with three races left.
Scott Hargrove, from Canada has just finished the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada, where the 21-year-old concluded the 2016 season as vice champion. Porsche Carrera Cup Japan put forward 23-year-old Yuichi Mikasa from Utsunomiya, who ranks second with one round left on the championship calendar. Sweden’s Philip Morin (20) was nominated by Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia and also took home runner-up honours this season.
Twenty-one-year-old Andrew Tang from Singapore and 24-year-old Zhang Da Sheng from China took part as representatives of Porsche Carrera Cup Asia. In the Asian series, they still have two races to contest, with Tang currently ranked third place and Da Sheng fifth.
The eventual winner of the prize will be announced in due course, however the judges have admitted that it will be a very tough decision. Head of the Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme said; “The ultimate decision on who we choose will not be an easy one for us. We look at the driving performance as well as the development potential of each individual pilot. And we also take into account their abilities away from the racetrack. No matter who wins in the end, everyone who has made it this far deserves it thanks to their tremendous efforts and an outstanding season.”
As soon as the final decision is made, GT Porsche will be carrying the story.