3/24/2020

Mission: Professional Racing Driver – Talented Youngsters in the Fast Lane

Ayhancan Güven still vividly remembers the moment after the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race in Silverstone, Britain: With fists clenched, the 21-year-old raises both arms in the air, before leaping overjoyed into the arms of his team principal, Philippe Alméras. Güven has just won his first race in the Supercup: “That was an incredible feeling. My video of the celebrations on the podium has been seen by almost a million users on Twitter.” The young Turkish driver is one of six rookies showcasing their talent in the international Supercup this season.

As well as Güven, Kantadhee Kusiri (Thailand), Dorian Mansilla (Argentina), Joey Mawson (Australia), Marius Nakken (Norway) and Ewan Taylor (South Africa) are also looking to take the next step in their fledgling careers in the Supercup. One thing is particularly notable: These six youngsters each come from totally different motorsport backgrounds. Güven discovered his passion for motor racing through sim racing and caught the eye with several titles on the gaming scene. As the reigning champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup France and the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux, he has also enjoyed success in the Cup car. Nakken and Taylor had also previously taken their place at the wheel of the 485-hp Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in the German Carrera Cup. In contrast, this is the first year in GT racing for Mawson, who was crowned ADAC Formula 4 champion in 2016. 18-year-old Mansilla is swapping his kart for a powerful racing car for the very first time this season, while Kusiri has predominantly been involved in touring car racing in his native Thailand.

On their path to becoming professional racing drivers, the six rookies in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup are receiving valuable support from an expert: Professional racer Marco Seefried attends the race weekends as their Rookie Coach. The former Supercup driver has celebrated on the podium at major motorsport events. His CV features class victories at the iconic endurance races in Daytona, Sebring and the Nürburgring. The Supercup Rookies also dream of enjoying this kind of success, and the talented youngsters receive intense coaching from Seefried to help them on their way. Every race weekend starts with a track walk, followed by detailed track analysis and individual meetings. During the sessions, Seefried keeps a watchful eye on his protégés, before giving each driver individual feedback. Corner by corner, Seefried points out the optimal braking point, explains peculiarities such as track limits, and shows clips of races from last year. However, Seefried is more than just a coach to his six rookies. As well as tips on finding the ideal racing line, he sometimes also assists them with personal issues. The road to becoming a professional racing driver is about more than just being the fastest out on the track.

A look in the rear-view mirror shows just how valuable a career step the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup is. Drivers such as Earl Bamber, Jörg Bergmeister, Timo Bernhard, and Kévin Estre all impressed in the international one-make-series and now belong to the squad of Porsche works drivers. Porsche Young Professionals Matt Campbell, Matteo Cairoli, Mathieu Jaminet and Dennis Olsen also showed their talent in the Supercup. “We are pleased that so many talented drivers have used the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup as a springboard to professional motorsport,” says Oliver Schwab, head of the international series.

Güven, Kusiri, Mansilla, Mawson, Nakken and Taylor are also hungry to win titles. This year, they are taking on the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup – a challenge with its own special flair. Since it was launched in 1993, the one-make cup has been featured as the support programme for the Formula 1 World Championship. The race calendar includes iconic racetracks such as the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, also known as the Ardennes rollercoaster, the high-speed track in Monza and the legendary Monaco street circuit. “The Supercup is perfect for developing young drivers,” stresses Güven. “My goal is to improve. Should I go on to be a works driver at some point, that would be a dream come true. To achieve that, however, I must impress with my performances – I can only influence what I do.”

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