ATLANTA – Continuing a long Porsche tradition of recognizing and rewarding young driving talent around the world, Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) and Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) teamed together to bring that same development strategy to North America through the Porsche Young Driver Academy with excellent results.
For the second year, Porsche returned to Barber Motorsports Park on Sept. 15-16 with a new set of promising drivers to put through its encompassing Young Driver Academy.
The “class” of 2013 includes three drivers from the two North American one-make IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge series and “at large” participant nominated by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). The Porsche specialists include David Ostella of Toronto who recently captured the Ultra 94 IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin, Lehi, Utah’s Madison Snow who is the current point leader of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama and Angel Benitez, Jr. of Venezuela who is third in points behind Snow in the U.S.-based series. Michael Lewis, from Laguna Beach, Calif., is the only driver without extensive Porsche GT3 Cup racing experience. He is in his second season of racing in the Formula 3 Euro Series.
Adapting techniques based on Porsche’s European Junior selection process, the Young Driver Academy provides up and coming talent on the North American continent an opportunity to reap many of the same benefits as their counterparts in Europe. The primary task assigned to the Academy by PMNA president and CEO Jens Walther, is discovering talent in the United States and Canada that can maximize their potential in the Porsche system.
“We have created the Young Driver Academy to take full advantage of the deep pool of talent in North America,” said Walther. “As we did last year, we brought in four drivers to Barber Motorsports Park for intense media training, driving skill evaluation with various 911 models including the 911 GT3 Cup racecar and on and off track evaluation. Last year’s class resulted in recommendations that included Porsche Carrera Cup Germany and Porsche Mobil1 Supercup tests in Europe that provided them opportunities to test the waters there.”
The four drivers invited to participate this year all have significant experience and impressive résumés. The intention of the Young Driver Academy is not to teach them to drive or race, but instead to provide them with insight and instruction to further develop their careers. Then, to take those lessons and, based on the recommendations of Porsche, to continue that development in the best fitting environment.