Your route to becoming a professional Porsche racer
Getting on the first rung of the ultimate career ladder
Kévin Estre is one of the world’s top racing drivers. Having already won the 24 Hours of Spa, the GTE-Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship, the French Porsche works driver added overall victory at the Nürburgring 24 Hours to his remarkable tally this year, sharing a 911 GT3 R with Michael Christensen from Denmark and Italy’s Matteo Cairoli.
Besides conquering the Nordschleife together, there’s something else this trio has in common: all three began their journey towards becoming professional racers in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. Germany’s feted single-make championship has enabled many drivers to take the next step towards a professional racing career over the years, and now, thanks to intensive promotion of its young talent, the series is regarded as an even more decisive springboard.
Ever since its inception over 30 years ago, Carrera Cup has offered breath-taking wheel-to-wheel racing in a highly professional environment, creating an exceptional training ground for international GT racing. And the recipe for success is actually pretty simple: set tyres from Michelin, limited setup possibilities and the latest generation 911 GT3 Cup car offer superb performance on a level playing field. But since the 2018 season, the one-make series has intensified its commitment to supporting talented youngsters with the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland Talent Pool, where young drivers receive professional coaching in all key areas.
Eight young drivers from all over Europe formed this season’s Talent Pool, starting the process at the end of March in Potsdam with medical check-ups, fitness tests, media workshops and training with a sports psychologist. At the tracks, former works driver Wolf Henzler was then on hand throughout the season hand to mentor the youngsters, discussing the ideal racing line, optimal braking points and the best overtaking opportunities. He also supported them with post-race analyses, personal talks and even by jogging laps around the circuits.
The Talent Pool driver Laurin Heinrich is a classic example of how the junior development programme works. Last season, the German won Carrera Cup Deutschland’s rookie classification and this season was in contention for the overall title for much of the year. A maiden victory also offered Heinrich extensive media coverage, boosting his profile alongside his growing confidence as a driver.
An attractive racing calendar is another crucial part of opening doors between the Carrera Cup Deutschland and professional motor racing. The season includes an opening round in support of World Endurance Championship, a doubleheader with the DTM, five events as part of the ADAC GT Masters support programme and an event alongside the International GT Open. Works drivers and experienced Porsche customer teams operate in close proximity to the Carrera Cup paddock.
For many racing drivers, winning the Porsche Carrera Cup was a milestone in their careers. Stars such as the Porsche brand ambassadors Timo Bernhard and Jörg Bergmeister launched their careers in the German one-make cup, while the likes of Dirk Werner, Nick Tandy, Sven Müller, Dennis Olsen, Thomas Preining and Julien Andlauer also used the Carrera Cup as launch pad for their future successes around the world. The Talent Pool is here to nurture and refine that ability, seeking out and supporting the next generation of winners.