This week I bring you details on the first ever Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Talent Pool Assessment as Porsche looks to develop the next group of Porsche race drivers in the region. I also bring you an update from the fourth annual Spec MX-5 Shootout and the 2023 FIA Rally Star initiative.
All this and more in this week’s Driver Development Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Its news aspiring race drivers can use.
The 2024 season will see Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific implement adjustments to its young driver focused development programs, starting with the first ever Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Talent Pool Assessment.
Initiated in 2017 the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Talent Pool has provided any driver under 26 in the series strong support. Drivers part of the Talent Pool benefit from coaching to develop their racing, financial support from Porsche, tire support from Michelin, multiple training camps in a year and training on PR, marketing and press handling.
The upcoming Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Talent Pool assessment, set to take place on 6-8 December in Malaysia, will be an important step towards finding the next young professional drivers to enter the Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific pyramid. As they embark on their 2024 Porsche Carrera Cup Asia campaign, the Talent Pool members will have the career-defining opportunity to prove themselves on track.
After a recruitment period that saw applications coming from around the world, a final selection of 12 talented young drivers has been made to attend the assessment. The assessment will span 3 days and consists of a rigorous program both on and off track to evaluate each driver from a multitude of angles. The first day sees the drivers going through brand and product training, a visit to a Porsche Centre, interviews and personal development assessments.
Days 2 and 3 will see the drivers head out onto the Sepang International Circuit in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (992). Over the two days, the young drivers will be put through a full race weekend simulation, with Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2023 Talent Pool Driver, Luo Kailuo, setting reference lap times for the candidates to target. Day 2 will see all drivers doing Free Practice simulations while also spending time with the technical support to debrief and get coaching. Day 3 is the all-important qualifying and race simulation where the young drivers can put to practice what they learned the day before.
The PCCA Talent Pool Assessment will be judged by a jury made up of Alexandre Gibot, Managing Director of Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Ltd, Sascha Maassen, Porsche Junior Coach, and Alexandre Imperatori, Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Talent Pool Coach.
The full list of candidates for the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Talent Pool assessment is below:
Hugo Allan, New Zealand
Rodrigo Almeida, Portugal/Mozambique
Pietro Armanni, Italy
Douglas Bolger, Japan/Great Britain
Antoine Doquin, France
Marco Giltrap, New Zealand
Mathys Jaubert, France
Adam Putera, Malaysia
Manuel Santo, Portugal
Hugo Schwarze, Germany
Jackson Walls, Australia
Dylan Yip, China
Following four successful years of the Selected Driver program, Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific plans to use this Talent Pool to find future candidates, as part of the updates to the regional Driver Development programs. Both inaugural Selected Driver Alessio Picariello and his successor, Yifei Ye, have enjoyed two fruitful seasons with the program, developing as impressive and well-rounded drivers and translating that into strong results on track under Porsche’s tutelage. The scouting for the future drivers to bear the title will run through 2024 with Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific looking within the Carrera Cup Asia Talent Pool for potential candidates, and also throughout the region’s motorsport activities.
Alexandre Gibot, Managing Director Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Ltd.: “We’re looking forward to seeing the 12 candidates in action at the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Talent Pool Assessment at Sepang next month. We received applications from 15 countries which shows that the commitment we make to developing young talent is both effective and recognized. For this upcoming assessment we’ve got some very talented drivers from a variety of backgrounds joining us in Malaysia, making it an exciting moment for the program.”
The fourth annual Spec MX-5 Shootout (SMX) took place at Carolina Motorsports Park, November 15 – 16 and the event saw 12 candidates narrowed down to three, who will become Mazda Factory Club Team drivers in 2024.
Created in 2020, the Spec MX-5 Challenge (SMX) Shootout was added alongside the Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout to search for younger drivers looking to break through into sports car racing. Once its own series, SMX was recently named an SCCA National Championship eligible class, creating a greater number of events and additional personnel support. By becoming a Mazda Factory Club Driver, the three winners will be assisted by Mazda financially and have a bevy of coaching and advice available from professional drivers.
The three drivers carrying etching their name on Mazda’s Factory Club roster are Ethan Jacobs, Helio Meza and Kamden Hibbitt.
The trio will get to compete at select SCCA Hoosier Super Tour events in the Spec MX-5 class, which was recently elevated to an SCCA National Championship eligible category. They will receive a racing school, plus testing and a full arrive-and-drive season that will include the 2024 SCCA National Championship Runoffs. All entry fees and consumables are covered, along with a travel budget, a car damage budget, and more.
“I was massively impressed with this group from a talent side,” Mazda Motorsports Business Development Manager Josh Smith said. “All of these young drivers, every year they step it up and make our job much harder. I feel like a broken record saying that, but it’s the truth. They have learned how to operate within the sport and they’re only just beginning. We couldn’t be more proud of them and it’s only going to set them up for success in their future endeavors.”
The FIA has selected the four drivers that will progress from the FIA Rally Star initiative to contest the Junior World Rally Championship next year. Jose Caparo (Peru), Taylor Gill (Australia), Romet Jurgenson (Estonia) and Max Smart (South Africa) will receive a fully funded JWRC program in 2024.
Organized and funded by the FIA, six driver and co-driver pairings were selected from regional finals held across the world to tackle six European rallies as part of a training campaign this year behind the wheel of an M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally3 car.
The annual Lucas Oil Formula Car Winter Series has been announced for February 5-7, 2024. The series can be a critical training ground for scores of racers looking to continue their training and racing education in the winter months. You can sign up here.
If you are new to racing and considering racing a Revolution race car, or are not familiar with the brand, their website has a good introduction on their page “new to racing but interested in a Revolution?”