One of the most prestigious and sought-after prizes in sports car racing has just been awarded to young Frenchman Julien Andlauer.
The 18-year old will be 2018’s Porsche Junior, having clinched a grueling two-day selection programme that pitted him against eight other candidates from all over the world in Porsche’s various one-make series.
The shootout took place at the Lausitzring in eastern Germany, where each driver had to demonstrate a variety of skills inside and out of the GT3 Cup car. A critical element in the decision-making process was how well the candidates worked within the Porsche team, showing the right temperament, commitment and ability to communicate with their engineers.
“We’ve made a detailed analysis of the data and results from the shootout. Of the nine participants, Julien Andlauer impressed us the most. He’s very young and he has a lot of talent. We’re looking forward to working with him,” says Jennifer Biela-Moll of the Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme.
Andlauer’s passion for motorsport began early. His father manages a track in Lyon and by the age of six his son was demonstrating a natural ability in karts. In 2015 he debuted in French Formula 4, where he achieved an impressive third overall, and just one year later he contested the Porsche Carrera Cup France. The following season he was crowned runner-up in the rookie class before winning this year’s championship outright.
When he isn’t racing Andlauer likes to keep fit, and in ways that reveal a seriously competitive edge. “I’m a big fan of boxing. The sport uses the whole body and it improves reflexes. Mixed martial arts boxer Connor McGregor is one of my biggest idols. He lives the sport and is very ambitious.”
With pugilistic role models and acres of self-belief, it will be interesting to watch how Andlauer progresses in the 2018 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup behind the wheel of the 480bhp 911 GT3 Cup car.
He will receive a funding package of 225,000 Euros towards his campaign alongside the top tier assistance of the Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme which includes driver coaching, individual training plans, psychological training and media relations.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be chosen as the Porsche Junior,” Andlauer remarked. “My father and I watched the two Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup races at Spa-Francorchamps this year. It was extremely impressive. The Supercup is a big challenge for me.”
The series runs as a support race for Formula 1, meaning Andlauer will get to drive legendary circuits around the world in front of knowledgeable and passionate capacity crowds. Immense pressure then, and some stiff competition, but it’s an incredible opportunity to showcase your talent, as Earl Bamber would testify.
The New Zealander took overall victory in his maiden Supercup season back in 2014 and was quickly contracted as a works driver for Porsche. The following year he would win Le Mans in the 919 Hybrid, and was part of the team that took Porsche’s famous LMP1 hat trick last summer.
Congratulations to Julien, then, and the best of luck for 2018. We’ll keep you updated on his progress as the season unfolds.