Since 1997, Porsche has supported young talent on their way to a racing career through a Youth Optimization Programme. Timo Bernhard, Marc Lieb and Earl Bamber are three examples of successful racing drivers who, in addition to their world championship titles and victories at Le Mans, have one thing in common: the three have honed their skills for their distinguished career on the Porsche Junior programme. Traditionally, the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup was the setting for young talent. This is where the young drivers selected by Porsche can test their skills. The International Single-Made Cup is contested as part of the Formula 1 Support Program and is considered one of the toughest series in the world. For 25 years, the Supercup has been the perfect training ground for this popular initiative for the little ones. As the new goalkeeper, Lorraine Heinrich will start his first season as a Porsche Junior driver at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola on April 24, 2022. It has now been confirmed that the 20-year-old German will drive the car. The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 992nd generation, entered by the SSR Huber Racing team.
Porsche has traditionally attached great importance to promoting young talents in motorsport. The team of former Porsche Junior drivers who have successfully climbed through the ranks of Porsche Motorsport is huge. In 1997, Germans Dirk Muller and Mark Basing were among the first talents to follow the training program for the sports car manufacturer. To date, they have been followed up by 25 other pilots, with the entry-level initiative being the critical catalyst for their leadership and personal development. They have all used extensive support as a stepping stone to successful professional racing careers. Germany’s Timo Bernard (Porsche Jr. 2000-2001), Marc Lieb (2000-2002) and New Zealand’s Earl Bamber (2014) are perfect examples. All three have won the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans and won the FIA World Endurance Championship at least once on the wheel of a Porsche 919 Hybrid.
The list of their successes is long. Bernard, for example, also triumphed in the American classics of Daytona and Sebring. With five total victories, today the Porsche brand ambassador is one of the record winners of the Nürburgring 24 Hours. Mark Lieb was a member of the four-time Nordschleife race-winning quartet with the Manthey-Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR and achieved many other milestones during his impressive motorsport career. Earl Bamber has worked his way up the entire Porsche motorsport hierarchy – from the Domestic Cup Challenge and the Porsche Carrera Asia Cup to the two-time Le Mans winner and FIA champion in 2017. Two years later, he won the GTLM title driving the North American factory team Porsche 911 RSR in the IMSA Championship WeatherTech SportsCar.
Recently, two young talents from the current factory driver team turned heads at the opening round of this year’s IMSA Series: France’s Mathieu Jamenet (Porsche Junior 2016) and Australia’s Matt Campbell (2017) won the 24 Hours of Daytona in late January 2022 and celebrated a victory in the class GTD-Pro with the Porsche 911 GT3R – further proof that Porsche Motorsport’s International Youth Development Program has been the ideal springboard for a successful 25-year motorsport career.
Two of their teammates should follow suit this year in the DTM: driving for Team Bernhard Austrian Thomas Brenning (Porsche Junior 2017 to 2018) climbing the 911 GT3R, while Norway’s Dennis Olsen (2016 to 2017) leads one of the Porsche 911 GT3 cups. Compliant with SSR Performance.
Laurin Heinrich takes the stage as the 2022 Porsche Junior
Laurin Heinrich is the latest addition to the Porsche Assistance programme. Late last year, the 20-year-old beat eleven international riders in a three-day qualifier in Aragon, Spain. He already put in a great performance in the Super Cup in 2021, finishing fourth in the overall standings and winning laurels as the best newcomer. He now aims to take the title with SSR Huber Racing to prove himself to bigger missions and earn a potential promotion for the business rider.
“The competition in the Porsche Mobil 1 Cup will be fierce again in 2022. At SSR Huber Racing I can build on the experiences of last year. Business relationships should not start from scratch, we all know each other and the atmosphere is good. Although the team played its first season Only in the Super Cup last year, we were able to win the Rookie Championship from the start. We want to build on that, develop further and win the Super Cup in 2022.”Heinrich emphasized.
The new rookie driver will receive a €225,000 support package for this year’s Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign. The program takes a holistic approach and covers all aspects of a professional racing career. This includes, for example, the same support for sports medicine and scientific training from the University of Potsdam as is offered to factory riders. Mental and media training seminars as well as public relations and marketing activities complement training to become a professional racing driver.
“It is not enough to have tremendous driving talent and fast lap times on the track, a small Porsche must also have other assets – including, for example, how to deal with the media with confidence and to work professionally with a team.”Sasha Maassen explains. The former Porsche driver has been supporting youngsters as a Supercup racing coach since 2012. He added: “During the annual selection process, a competent jury decides which driver has the best overall package and shows the greatest development potential.”
Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup 2022 calendar (not final)
April 22-24, Imola (Italy)
May 26-29, Monte Carlo (Monaco)
Jul 01-03, Silverstone (Great Britain)
8-10 July, Spielberg (Austria)
July 22-24, Le Castellet (France)
August 26-28, Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)
02-04 September, Zandvoort (Netherlands)
09-11 September, Monza (Italy)
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