After an intensive three-day selection process in Portimão, Portugal, Ayhancan Güven has been announced as the new Porsche Junior.
The Turkish 21-year-old fended off stiff competition from 11 other candidates, all of whom had been nominated by their respective national Porsche one-make cups. Güven travelled to the shootout as the reigning champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup France and as Rookie champion in this year’s Mobil 1 Supercup.
“During the shootout at Portimão, the participants were literally checked out from top to toe,” said Jasmin Steidle-Faas, project manager of the Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme. “We got a comprehensive picture of their physical and mental fitness and also tested their driving skills.”
Güven climbed into a kart at the age of five and was supported by his father, who is also an amateur racer in Turkey. At the age of 12, the youngster from Istanbul switched to SimRacing and competed for the world’s largest team with today’s Formula 1 drivers Max Verstappen and Lando Norris. In 2016, Güven made the leap into international GT racing and the following year he contested the Porsche Carrera Cup France and the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux, concluding the latter series as the rookie champion.
In 2018, Güven climbed another rung of the Porsche Motorsport ladder, taking home the championship crown from both the Carrera Cup France and the Carrera Cup Benelux. He contested his maiden season in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup this year, concluding his debut Supercup season as runner-up and rookie champion.
“It was a great honour to take part in the selection process,” said Güven. “When I received the news that I was chosen as the new Porsche Junior I was absolutely thrilled. Being a Porsche Junior is a dream come true. From a very young age I’ve always wanted to win. Coming out on top at the shootout is the greatest victory of my life. I’d like to thank Porsche for the confidence they’ve placed in me.”
Porsche traditionally supports two young drivers at the same time and the second driver alongside Güven is Jaxon Evans, who was chosen last year as a Porsche Junior. The New Zealander comes from a motor racing family and began his career in a kart at the age of 12. After the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, he advanced to the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia where he clinched the championship title in 2018. During the 2019 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, Evans finished on the podium at Spa-Francorchamps and Mexico City, and will return as a Porsche Junior in 2020.
Both Porsche Juniors receive a sponsorship package that includes 225,000 euros for a season in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and support at all race weekends from the former Porsche works driver Sascha Maassen as a driver coach. Like the Porsche works drivers, the sponsored youngsters are provided with sports medicine and training-related mentoring from the University of Potsdam. Media seminars and mental fitness training are also part of the instruction content on the path to becoming a fully-fledged professional racing driver.
Oliver Schwab, project manager of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, is already looking forward to the new line-up: “Jaxon steadily improved over the last season and Ayhancan Güven at times even gave the seasoned Supercup regulars a run for their money. In 2020, the title fight amongst the world’s best one-make cup drivers will be more thrilling than ever. I believe Ayhancan is one of the hot favourites.”