Porsche Motorsport have announced their chosen 5 drivers for their 'Porsche Motorsport Talent.'
12 drivers were present at a talent search event held at the Vallelunga circuit in Italy, Porsche selected their 5 drivers who showed the biggest amount of potential, and the 5 drivers will share 180,000 Euro pot to boost their budgets for either the Formula One supporting International Mobil 1 Supercup or the Carerra Cup Deutschland. This announcement writes another chapter for Porsche in their long standing and highly successful junior driver development programme.
The 5 drivers selected for the 'Porsche Motorsport Talent' programme are:
- 23 year old Irishman Niall Breen – former single seater driver, won the 2006 Formula BMW UK title. Competed in the Formula 3 Euroseries in 2008.
- 20 year old New Zealander Jono Lester – finished 4th in the Porsche GT3 Cup New Zealand last year.
- 22 year old German, Tim Sandtler – Formula 3 Euroseries competitor.
- 22 year old Latvian Harald Schlegelmilch – won the 2006 German and Austrian Formula 3 titles. Competed in German F3, International Formula Masters and American Formula Atlantic.
- 18 year old German Ferdinand Stuck – youngest son of Hans-Joachim Stuck. Competed in the 2008 and 2009 ADAC Formula Masters.
Each one of the 12 drivers that were present at Vallelunga had the same amount of tyres to use over the 2 days, and spent both days testing three 450bhp Porsche 911 GT3 cars, and alongside Porsche engineers, worked on making set up changes to suit them.
Alongside the engineers who attended the 2 day test was double Mobil 1 Porsche Supercup Champion Jeroen Bleekemolen and former Porsche Junior Jan Seyffarth, who finished 4th in the German Porsche Carerra Cup Championship. Both drivers were there to offer assistance to the participants, as well as valuable hints and tips, which were assisted by computerised data analysis.
Each of the drivers also commented on the 2 day test:
Niall Breen – “Although I've been driving Formula cars only and haven't sat in a race car for ages, it didn't take me long at all to get used to the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. I was easily able to adapt my driving style from Formula 3 to the GT vehicle and I improved from session to session.”
Jono Lester – “I'm really pleased that Porsche chose me as one of the five talents. I would like to use my budget to contest the Supercup. The new Cup vehicle suits my driving style very well. The most difficult aspect will be to familiarise myself with the circuits. I hardly know any tracks outside New Zealand. My greatest dream is to one day become a Porsche works driver.”
Tim Sandtler – “I'm very proud Porsche has selected me as a talent after this very intensive and fair screening. I would very much like to race in the Carrera Cup. The most appealing aspect for me is the close competition and the fact that everyone has identical equipment.”
Harald Schlegelmilch – “This is first time ever that I've sat in a car with a roof. I'm surprised how quickly I adapted to the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. The car is much faster and more precise than I had expected – a truly super racer. I felt really good after just five laps and could then go to the limit. What a great opportunity. And it's fantastic that a manufacturer does something for young drivers in such difficult economic times.”
Ferdinand Stuck – “I was surprised by the amount of time we were given on the track during this selection process. The data evaluation with Cup professionals Jeroen Bleekemolen and Jan Seyffarth was priceless. I learnt an incredible amount from the two. I'm looking forward to my season in the Carrera Cup. Porsche's organisation of this championship is very professional, so I have a great deal to offer my sponsors.”
“We're very pleased with this talent search,” summarised Jens Walther, Head of Porsche's brand trophy series. “All participants were extremely disciplined. We had neither an accident nor a technical defect with the three brand-new vehicles. We carefully weighed up each candidate against each other. The five drivers we selected can rightfully call themselves a “Porsche Motorsport Talent”. All in all, we were very impressed by the standard of participants and hope to see as many of them as possible contesting the Porsche one-make series.”