The first edition of the Junior Recruitment Program organized by the promoters of the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux completely fulfilled the expectations! No less than six candidates took part in the selection tests at Circuit Zolder (first with a series version of a Porsche, then at the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Gen II) and were able to meet the jury, who assisted all candidates with advice and action. “It was a premiere, and a very successful one!”, Says a happy Severine Ulenaers, responsible for the Junior program of the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux. “Our six candidates turned out to be extremely motivated. They have all learned something, especially from their coach Mathieu Jaminet. The factory driver of Porsche Motorsport has provided them with a lot of tips that will certainly help them in the future. I am convinced that the success of this first edition will attract even more candidates in the future.”
Although they were not selected by the jury, nobody doubts that the Dutch Max Weering (18 years) and Niels Nipperus (21 years), the Belgians Gilles Knaepen (23 years) and Yigit Recep Ilker (24 years) and the German Alex Aka (18 years old) will certainly continue to develop a bright future.
The laureate of this first edition of the Junior Recruitment Program is the benjamin of the year 2018. Although he just celebrated his 16th birthday on October 5th, the Dutchman Loek Hartog made a big impression. The inhabitant of Hoogmade (near Leiden) won this season with seven victories and 11 podium places in 12 races in the Ford Fiesta Sprint Cup Netherlands and received already the support from the Dutch automobile federation. In 2019 he will be of the KNAF Academy. Thanks to winning this selection, he also receives support (registration right, a set of tires donated by Michelin and a Porsche Motorsport race suit supplied by Stand 21 Benelux) to participate in the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux in 2019.
“I am over the moon”, a happy Hartog said. “This year could not have started better. Needless to say that I am more than ever motivated to be in the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux this year! I know that this is a big challenge for a 16-year-old rider, but I’m ready to take them on. During the following weeks, I will work on my physical and mental condition like never before, to get me ready. I wholeheartedly wish to thank the promoters of the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux for this initiative and their trust. I can hardly wait for the season start!”
During the six races of the championship Loek will be one of the Juniors to follow. “He may only be 16 years old, he has an undeniably driving talent,” says Mathieu Jaminet, the Porsche factory driver who was part of the jury. “In addition to his talent, he is also surrounded by professionals, people who have the right approach to make him grow. This is obviously a young guy with a lot of potential!”
For Hartog and the other participants in the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux 2019, the countdown has already started: the first race will be started in the pre-program of the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) at Spa-Francorchamps in early May.