It's that time of year again and Porsche is looking to strengthen their farm team by selecting the next Porsche Motorsport Junior candidate. With its long history of producing winning factory drivers like Earl Bamber, Patrick Long, Michael Christensen, Timo Bernhard and Marc Lieb, the Junior program is one of Porsche's best methods for developing young talent.
There's only one spot available in 2017 and this year's four finalists were chosen from more than a hundred applicants during a two-stage selection process. In preliminary interviews and at fitness checks at the University of Potsdam, 19-year-old Ralph Boschung from Switzerland, 21-year-old Mikkel Jensen from Denmark, the 20-year-old German Dennis Marschall and 18-year-old Thomas Preining from Austria proved to be in top form. During practical tests on the Lausitzring, these same finalists showcased their driving potential at the wheel of the 460 hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. It is from this final group of four that Porsche will choose their new Junior for the 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland series.
“The Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme supports a talented driver in many areas. They will receive the same exercise and sports medicine services as our Porsche works drivers. Moreover, there are learning modules in the fields of psychological training, media relations and sponsoring. At the racetrack, our Junior coach Sascha Maassen will be at all the race weekends to support them. The funding towards the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland comes to 150,000 Euros,” says Andrea Hagenbach, Head of the Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme.
Interestingly, this year's final four have limited or no experience with GT vehicles. Instead, they all came up the ranks from karting to compete in single-seaters in various racing series over the following years. This season Boschung is contesting the GP3 Series, Jensen comes from the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, Marschall drives in the Audi Sport TT Cup and Preining competes in this year’s ADAC Formula 4.
The winner should be announced in the coming weeks and we'll be sure to introduce you to him once we know who it is.