10/30/2020

The Rookie Story

What do the Porsche factory drivers Earl Bamber, Kévin Estre and Nick Tandy have in common? They started as Rookie drivers in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. The series is a career accelerator – as all participants in the official Rookie Programme 2020 know.

It’s early July in Spielberg, just before the first race of the season begins. Rookie Leon Köhler (DEU/Lechner Racing Middle East) puts on his helmet and settles himself into his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup emblazoned with #3. He steers himself out of the Porsche Paddock and heads towards the racetrack. Not even an hour later, he’s standing in P3 on the podium of the Red Bull Ring! Quite a moment in the young race driver’s career.

For 17 laps, Köhler stood his ground against other one-make cup experts from all over the world. Among them, an additional seven Rookies, all of whom have one common goal: becoming a professional racing driver. The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup is the perfect platform to achieve this. Internationally respected, the series is well known in the racing scene due to its proximity to Formula 1 as well as its top-class driver field. Within each round it quickly becomes clear which young driver has the talent for more.

Challenge and encouragement – the core elements of the Rookie Programme

Porsche is actively involved in promoting young talent in many of its worldwide one-make cups. And in this context, the Supercup occupies a special place for young drivers – not only because of the international Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme, but especially due to the Rookie Programme’s high quality training for Supercup newcomers. Rookie Coach Marco Seefried himself is still an active racing driver and provides comprehensive support to all Rookies in the series across various disciplines of motorsport life. Fitness, strategy, technology, vehicle handling, track insights, self-marketing & promotion, personality training – each topic is intensively covered at both the group and individual levels.

For example, before each race there’s a track walk where the critical passages of the course are discussed: Where is the ideal racing line, where are the braking points, where is the best place to overtake – and how does one need to block to fend off attacks. After each race, Marco Seefried and his protégés reflect on individual performances, uncover mistakes and identify opportunities for development.

This year’s Rookies were really strong. I'm delighted to see young talents mature in our series and I'm curious to see which one of them will make the leap to professional racing.

Oliver SchwabProject Manager of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup

Marcos eight.

Rookie Coach Marco Seefried should actually have worked with even more Rookies this season. However, the US American #11 Jaden Conwright from Dinamic Motorsport was only able to join the team from Round 6 in Barcelona onwards due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and therefore has the option to compete as a Rookie next year in this case.

Rookie Champion goes Le Mans

The Porsche Supercup Rookies fought a close battle for the title throughout the season. After Leon Köhler dominated the first rounds, Max van Splunteren turned the tide with his 2nd place in the overall standings at the British Grand Prix in Silverstone. In an extremely exciting final race in Monza, he took the crown in the Rookie Classification with a wafer-thin 2-point lead over Marvin Klein and a 4-point gap to Köhler.

In addition to the €30.000 prize money as a contribution to the budget of the following season, Max was also awarded an official drive at the Porsche Carrera Cup Le Mans just a few weeks after. Steering the official Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup VIP Car in the field of 53 starters, he finished the race in 18th place. Only a few hours later he crowned his season by participating in the endurance classic, 24 Hours of Le Mans. This Rookie Champion could hardly have dreamed of a better introduction to professional racing.

Any young driver who is interested in joining the Rookie Programme of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup can find more information on the Porsche website. The basic prerequisites are clear: A Rookie in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup can only be someone who hasn’t competed in more than five races of the series in previous years – and is no older than 25 years.

Rookie Classification of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup 2020.

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