This Week. * Young Drivers. PCNA/PMNA Hold Eighth Porsche Young Driver Academy. * 2019 Porsche Young Driver Academy Participant Driver Profiles.* BamThor Street Fight. Porsche Macau Podium for Vanthoor and Bamber. * Electric Boulevard. Porsche Presents “Road to Formula E” as Animation. * Porsche Podcast. Zurlinden on Tradition and Future of Motorsport at Porsche. * Electrifying Anticipation. Porsche Heads Into Opening Formula E Races.
Event Story Lines.
Young Drivers. PCNA/PMNA Hold Eighth Porsche Young Driver Academy.
Since 2012, Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) and Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) have provided 33 aspiring North American race car drivers an opportunity to develop their professional skills at the Porsche Young Driver Academy (PYDA). The eighth edition lists Britt Casey (21 years-old), Riley Dickinson (17), Jeff Kingsley (21) and Hanna Zeller (22) on its class roster. After one year in Southern California, PYDA VIII returned to the Porsche Track Experience on the grounds of Barber Motorsports Park outside of Birmingham, Alabama on November 17 – 18.
While education and guidance have always been the hallmark of the Academy, this year results from the one day of classroom activity and another of on-track sessions will help determine the 2020 Hurley Haywood Scholarship winner. The annual award provides the selected driver a package of tangible assets to present to teams in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama for the upcoming season. Porsche and IMSA will announce the recipient at later date.
Porsche, both internationally and in North America, has a long history of driver development. One of the first manufacturers to create not only a “factory driver” group but also a junior program, Porsche continues its efforts to assist young racing talent outside of the “works” efforts. The Porsche Young Driver Academy was founded by two arms of Porsche on this continent to recognize and help develop the talent of drivers competing in a Porsche one-make series, such as Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, for Porsche drivers who are currently racing in a non-one-make series – including the Michelin Pilot Challenge – or an IMSA-sanctioned development series that does not race Porsches.
The two-day Academy puts the four drivers through intense classes with the objective to broaden and sharpen talents not only behind the wheel but also out of the cockpit as well. In fact, the first full day is held in the Porsche Track Experience classroom with personality profiles, technical briefings, media training and more without ever touching the steering wheel of a Porsche. The classroom is used to give each participant the tools and understanding to maximize themselves in the variety of situations a professional driver will face throughout his or her career.
While tweaked each year, the Young Driver Academy syllabus is founded on the principles and practices of Porsche’s European Junior selection process. Originally drafted for this market by Porsche’s only North American factory driver, Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California), the core of the program beckons back to when Long himself took part on the selection process.
The comprehensive Academy experience includes classroom exercises, on-camera interview skills with renowned automobile documentary maker J.F. Musial of Tangent Vector, media training with Jamie Howe, TV reporter for IMSA and the National Hot Rod Association and Dave Engelman, PCNA Spokesperson, Motorsports and Brand Heritage and personality evaluations by Founder of the Growth Strategies Research, Education and Consulting Group Christina Kisley.
David Brown, Performance Engineer with PMNA provides technical training and constructive critique throughout the process. Brown’s decades of experience includes a distinguished tenure with the Porsche GT Team factory 911 RSR program prior to overseeing on-track performance for PMNA’s multitude of customer efforts in North America. Integrated into his duties are the Porsche 911 GT3 R operations in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class.
As they have in the past, Porsche racing legend and lead Porsche Sport Driving School instructor Hurley Haywood and Long each took a leading hand in the process. These world-renowned drivers offer not only invaluable experience behind the wheel of Porsche race cars, they each have an intimate understanding of how to be successful in motorsport out of the car as well.
Patrick Long, Porsche Factory Driver.
“It’s important to me to give back to the sport that has given me so much. The Porsche Young Driver Academy is built upon many of the same experiences I was afforded when I first joined Porsche, and it is gratifying to see the positive results of our efforts. Every year the drivers come better prepared for both the classroom and track portions, and it helps raise the bar for future programs.”
Hurley Haywood, Ambassador, Porsche.
“I am very happy that we’ve been able to officially combine the IMSA Hurley Haywood Scholarship with the Porsche Young Driver Academy. The quality of our students never fails to impress me and this year is no different. As we look back, the on and off-track successes speak well for the program as well as the attendees, and I expect this year to be no different.”
Dave Engelman, Spokesperson, Motorsport and Brand Heritage, Porsche Cars North America.
“It is more than gratifying to see our past attendees consistently earn big race wins, and year-long championships in IMSA and elsewhere. I know I share the sentiment with the others from our amazing team that not only help put the PYDA together, but offer their expertise and guidance to all of our attendees each year."
2019 Porsche Young Driver Academy Participant Driver Profiles.
Britt Casey Jr., Age: 21
Britt Casey Jr. got his start in racing at the age of seven, racing 50cc and 65cc motorcycles. He moved into karting in the Junior Sportsman Class in 2008. At age 13, Britt transitioned into race cars, racing in the Spec Miata Championship from 2011-2013. There he earned two Most Improved Driver Awards in a row as well as the Worker's Choice Award. He had his first factory team test at Road Atlanta with Freedom Autosport at age15 in a Mazda MX-5 IMSA ST car. Later that year IMSA gave Britt a competition license with an exemption as he was just 16 years old.
Britt became associated with Mazda Motorsports in 2015. He transferred to Miami University in 2017 to be close1 to Brad Kettler, long-time engineer and Director of Operations for Audi Sport customer racing in North America, who offered Britt an apprenticeship in his racing shop, Kettler Motor Werks Sport & Logistik. In 2018, he raced an Audi RS3 LMS for Compass Racing in IMSA's first year of IMSA TC and was crowned IMSA TCR Champion."
Riley Dickinson, Age: 17
Riley Dickinson first raced four wheels in the form of karts at the age of 11. The Texas native, who is from the San Antonio area, began racing Superkarts in his home state in 2013. While having competed in the Florida Winter Tm early in his karting career, Riley has found most of his success in the Lone Star State. From 2014-2017 he competed in five different Superkart USA Texas Prokart Series, becoming champion four times, and receiving vicechampion honors on the fifth occasion. He was the national champion of season 2 of the 2017 SKUSA Shifter Tour.
At 15 years-old, Dickinson had formed an extensive karting resume. The next step in his racing development was jumping from karts into a race car. In 2019, Riley raced for Moorespeed in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. Piloting a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 911, Riley finished third-overall in the driver's standings in his rookie campaign. The highlight of the season was his first win in the Platinum division at the season's last event, Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
Jeff Kingsley, Age: 21
Jeff Kingsley reigns from Ontario, Canada where he began karting at nine years-old. Kingsley has many karting championships to his name. He has been crowned Canadian Karting Champion four times throughout his career, going back to 2009. He became US Open Champion and Florida Winter Tour Champion in 2016 and 2017, respectively. He has single-seater experience too, earning 2014 Rookie of the Year honors in Formula 1600. Jeff has been a member of Team Canada five times as well. When he is not at the race track, Jeff is a full-time student at Western University in London, Ontario.
Kingsley has had experience driving cup cars for three years now. In 2017, he was Rookie of the Year in the Canadian Touring Championship racing a BMW M235iR for Policaro BMW. Jeff was again Rookie of the Year in 2018 racing his first year in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama driving for Policaro Motorsporti He raced in both GT3 Cup Challenges in 2019, with JDX Racing in the US and Policaro again in Canada. Both campaigns yielded Jeff third place finishes in their respective championships.
Hanna Zellers, Age: 22
Hanna Zellers started karting near her hometown of Granger, Indiana in 2007. In 2008, she was the first female to participate in the Rotax Florida Winter Tour. From 2009-2012 Hanna proved very consistent and capable in karting earning many race wins, podiums and championships. Five years of karting in the Michiana Championship Series led her on the road to becoming a race car driver.
In 2013, she graduated from Skip Barber Racing School and earned both a SCCA and NASA racing license. It would be another two years, however, before Hanna became exposed to multiple different racing cars and series. She competed in a Formula Enterprise car in the SCCA Majors Tour in 2015 and 2016. As well as competing in SCCA Runoffs, she received SCCA Driver of the Year honors. In the past three years, Zellers has experienced driving cars like an E46 M3 BMW, BMW 240 IR, and McLaren GT4. She has gotten the chance to drive in series like Formula Atlantic, US F4, and IMSA LMP3 Prototype Challenge. Hanna has been a test driver, stunt driver or instructor at places like Red Bull Racing, Saleen, Porsche Experience Center and Ferrari Challenge.
BamThor Street Fight. Porsche Macau Podium for Vanthoor and Bamber.
Porsche has finished on the podium at the FIA GT World Cup in Macau (China) with two of Rowe Racing’s 911 GT3 R. The works drivers Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Earl Bamber (New Zealand) treated fans to a gripping fight in the Chinese metropolis and took the checkered flag in second and third-places, respectively. The identical 500+hp vehicles fielded by Absolute Racing driven by Kévin Estre (France) and Alexandre Imperatori (Switzerland) retired early on the fast street circuit.
At the start of the 18-lap main race, Vanthoor overtook his brand colleague Bamber and then set his sights on the leader. Despite putting in fast lap times, the Belgian found no way past the leading Mercedes. On the twelfth lap, Vanthoor’s fellow IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM Drivers’ Champion teammate Bamber passed him. Bamber put pressure on the eventual winner Raffaele Marciello, posting one record lap after the other and then made one final attempt in the last lap – in vain. Shortly before the flag, Bamber waited for his factory driver teammate to hand a well-deserved second-place back to Vanthoor.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Motorsport.
“Congratulations to Mercedes. We tried everything, and we had an incredibly fast car for the race. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough for Porsche’s maiden Macau win. At the end of the day, it was anything but a bad weekend for Porsche with two podium finishes on Saturday and Sunday. We’re satisfied, but we still have a score to settle in Macau.”
Sebastian Golz, Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Our Porsche 911 GT3 R was the fastest car in the pack. We were able to close the gap to the leader, and we clocked the fastest lap time. Still, there was no way we could overtake on this narrow circuit. Two podium spots are okay. What makes me happy, though, is the fact that all four Porsche 911 GT3 R were fast. We had the performance. And our teams Rowe Racing and Absolute Racing did a terrific job.”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, No. 99 Rowe Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Earl and I tried everything to finally bring home the first Macau victory for Porsche. We were really not far off. I got off the line better than Earl and managed to pass him. I then went all-out for the lead spot but had no real chance to overtake. I knew that Earl is really fast here. That’s why I let him pass me. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to fight for the victory either. It’s a shame but we all worked perfectly as a team and tried absolutely everything.”
Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 98 Rowe Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“That was an exciting and intense race. Our car was really fast, particularly in the corners. Unfortunately, we had no chance to overtake on the straights. Our team worked perfectly together. After Laurens had tried everything to get past the leader, he let me past to have a go and I tried as well to the flag. We weren’t far off, I was on the bumper of the leading car but there was just no way past. Unfortunately we have to wait for our first Macau victory, but podium spots aren’t bad either.”
Kévin Estre, Driver, No. 912 Absolute Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“My start was good and I managed to make up one position. I was then behind my teammate Alex. Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding and our cars made contact while overtaking. My car was fast and I wanted to get ahead. I took a big risk and I overdid it slightly in the Mandarin corner: I hit the inside of the curb, veered too wide and landed in the barrier – and that was the end.”
Electric Boulevard. Porsche Presents “Road to Formula E” as Animation.
Within days, Porsche will officially embark down a new motorsport path. The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team will enter its maiden season in Saudi Arabia. At the Diriyah E-Prix, the squad will contest the first two races of the 2019/2020 ABB FIA Formula E Championship on November 22 and 23. This sees the “works“ team end its “Road to Formula E” and open competition. Porsche has summarized the journey – from the official announcement of the Formula E entry to the first two races – in an info-graphic series. The animation, lasting approximately two-minutes, follows the Formula E project in detail and is now available in the Newsroom at https://newsroom.porsche.com/en/2019/motorsports/porsche-road-to-formula-e-animation-19140.html .
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Porsche Motorsport and Group Motorsport Volkswagen AG.
“It’s finally time. The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team enters its maiden season of the first fully electric street racing series in the world. We have focused a great deal of attention on preparing for this moment over the past one and a half years, have driven the Porsche Formula E project together and thereby made a mark in pioneering motorsport activities. In no other race series are there as many manufacturers represented as in Formula E. Therefore, we are expecting the competition to be tough and the races to be super exciting for our fans. As a team, we are well prepared and are optimistic heading into our maiden season, in which we will have a lot to learn.”
Porsche Podcast. Zurlinden on Tradition and Future of Motorsport at Porsche.
Pascal Zurlinden is another team member from the successful LMP1 project breaking new ground. As Director Factory Motorsport, he has been responsible for both the GT race series and the Formula E projects since August, and thereby part of the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team. In episode 4 of the “Inside E” podcast, Zurlinden talks about his union with Porsche, the future of motorsport and the special characteristics of Formula E.
The Frenchman has been working for the sports car manufacturer since 2014. It makes him proud “to be part of the Porsche family representing a fantastic brand,” which will continue to make motorsport history in the future. The sports car manufacturer wishes to continue its winning streak in motorsport with the Formula E project.
Fanboost in Formula E: Porsche is counting on the support of its fans.
According to Zurlinden, the fact that Fanboost gives fans an opportunity to have a direct influence on the race strategy is also special and makes the series interesting for viewers; “We are also counting on their support for Neel und André.”
The Fanboost voting for the first Formula E race of the Diriyah E-Prix opens, Monday November 18. The five drivers with the most Fanboost votes will receive an extra energy boost of 100 kJ during the race, which they will be able to use in a specified time frame during the second half of the race. Fans have three ways to vote before voting closes 15-minutes after the race starts: on the official Formula E website, via Twitter or the Formula E app. Fanboost voting for the second Formula E race opens on November 22 at 10:00 a.m. ET/ 7:00 a.m. PT.
The Porsche Formula E podcast is available in English now in the Porsche Newsroom. https://newsroom.porsche.com/en/motorsports/formula-e/porsche-formel-e-team-uebersicht.html .
Pascal Zurlinden, Director Factory Motorsport.
Zurlinden remembers his first impressions of Formula E well. “I was on site for the first time at the New York E-Prix. I have to admit that I was a little bit skeptical at first. But my doubts soon vanished. Formula E is a fantastic race series. The one-day concept is challenging because there is very little time between practice, qualifying and the race. You need to have a specific plan and be very focused.”
Electrifying Anticipation. Porsche Heads Into Opening Formula E Races.
The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team enters its maiden season in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship with the Diriyah E-Prix in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia scheduled for November 22 and 23. The sixth season of the first fully electric race series of the world spans 14 events in twelve metropolises on five continents. It marks the first time Porsche will contest in a race series with a full-electric race car, the Porsche 99X Electric.
At the Season 6 opener, two races will be held on the street circuit – one on Friday and one on Saturday. The day before the first race, November 21, there will be a brief opportunity to “shakedown” the race cars. Two free practice sessions are scheduled for the first race day, with the first session lasting 45-minutes and the second one 30-minutes. In qualifying, the drivers are divided into four groups. They have to complete their fastest lap within six minutes in their respective groups. The top six out of all the groups qualify for the 20-minute “Super Pole”, which decides who will start the race from the first, second and third rows of the grid. The race lasts for 45-minutes plus one lap. The program for Race Two on Saturday is almost identical, however, there is only one 45-minute practice session.
The 1.55-mile (2.494-km) street circuit in Diriyah is one of the most demanding tracks on the Formula E race calendar. The track consists of 21 turns and also has one of the longest straightaways.
Neel Jani, Driver, No. 18 TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Porsche 99X Electric.
How do you feel when you think about your first Formula E race with Porsche?
“I am really looking forward to it. It is great that it’s finally about to get underway. But we are also aware that we are venturing into the unknown, which makes it all very exciting. We are well prepared, but it’s not possible to simulate critical situations at the racetrack. We will be fully focused heading into our first Formula E season.”
You are only familiar with the track from the simulator at the moment. What do you think about the layout of the racetrack in Diriyah?
“My first impression of the track in Diriyah is definitely positive. The up and down sections, and the differences in altitude these bring, are noticeable. The first part of the track has fast turns and more flowing parts, while the second sector, with its slow, narrow turns, is more reminiscent of a traditional Formula E track. There are also hardly any bumps, which is unusual for a Formula E street circuit. All in all, the track is technically demanding, since it has every possible type of turn there is.”
André Lotterer, Driver, No. 36 TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Porsche 99X Electric.
You are familiar with the racetrack in Diriyah from the last Formula E season. What are its special characteristics?
“From my perspective, the street circuit in Diriyah is one of the most challenging tracks on the race calendar. The layout has many combinations of turns, particularly from turn one to turn 14 you are constantly switching between left and right turns. That sector is really fast. You have to be very precise with your driving and can’t afford to make any mistakes. On top of that are the different altitude profiles, which make the track unique compared with other Formula E tracks. It’s so much fun driving there, which is why it is also one of my favorite tracks.”
How have you been preparing yourself for the first race these past weeks?
“Testing at the racetrack ended with the official Formula E test. That was followed-up with simulator work. I also spent a week in the mountains, honing my fitness. And on top of that, I am involved in regular discussions with my race engineer. So it’s a full program all round.”
Pascal Zurlinden, Director Factory Motorsport.
What needs to be taken into account in Diriyah in terms of energy management?
“The opening Formula E race of Season 6 marks the first application of the new sporting regulations. Previously, drivers were able to conserve their available energy during a Full Course Yellow period and a Safety Car period. That is no longer the case with the new regulations. Now, a kilowatt hour is deducted from the available energy each minute. The driver has to execute this using combinations of buttons on the steering wheel, under the supervision of race control. This will make energy management more significant. The Diriyah track has three overtaking opportunities on the straights, so, drivers need to divide the energy in such a way that they can attack their rivals or fend off attacks in these sections.”
What are your expectations for Porsche’s debut in Formula E?
“The Formula E test in Valencia wasn’t really representative of the upcoming season so we aren’t sure where we stand. In principle, we are very well prepared ahead of our first two races, and naturally we would be delighted to pick up points with the Porsche 99X Electric. Generally, our goal is always the same: to win races. However, we know the strength of our competitors – a total of ten manufacturers and twelve highly professional Formula E teams will take each other on in Season 6. It goes without saying that we have a lot of respect for them, but are looking forward to the challenge.”