More complete drivers
Nationally, the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux currently represents the highest level in motor racing. This is underlined by the Talent Pool, an initiative to provide the most promising participants multidisciplinary preparation for a career in racing. For a year they follow a program with professional guidance, in order to come out as a more complete driver.
Last year, the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux and PON Porsche Import jointly created the Talent Pool. Striking, the close involvement from the Dutch head office in Leusden. Ruurd Neurink, Manager Marketing & Communication, explains. “Motorsport is intrinsic to the DNA of our brand. Based on that fact, we have in recent years looked at how we could future-proof professional Porsche racing at national level. If you look ahead, it starts with the timely development of talent. In addition, the story fits within our general strategy of selling cars. There is an increasingly younger target group that has the means to purchase a new 718 or 911 and there are therefore many opportunities in the field of communication. The attraction of motorsport is an important factor in this. It appeals to the imagination of these customers when they see young talents performing in racing. Among other things, we are bringing this closer through the Porsche Track Experience, which gives owners the opportunity to get to know their sports car better on the track, under professional guidance.”
A well thought-out strategy, which is also closely related to the Porsche Pyramid: the international development ladder for drivers who want to build their future with the illustrious brand. “In the first place, we strive to help Dutch talents further in their careers, but we also keep our eyes open for drivers with a lot of potential from abroad,” says Neurink. “The Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux is a perfect preliminary stage for the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, where the bar for drivers with relatively little experience will often be set too high. Today, the German class is already moving well to the level of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.” It is no coincidence that the Talent Pool will take care of an international quartet of drivers in 2022, with the German Sebastian Freymuth and the Englishman Harry King in addition to the Dutch Lucas van Eijndhoven and Rik Koen. Participants are scouted based on their performance and participate in the program for a full season. “Firstly, to be able to take full advantage of all facets, and secondly, in the context of team building. Make each other stronger. At the end of the season, we will be contributing one of them to the shoot-out of the official Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme.”
The Talent Pool of the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux contains activities every race weekend, but also in the periods in between. “Under the guidance and supervision of a performance coach, the participants are involved in all possible disciplines related to racing,” explains Neurink. “Speed is one thing, but how do you deal with adversity? One weekend you might be in good shape, the next the team can't get the car set-up right. That puts pressure. The program also pays a lot of attention to physical condition, nutrition and communication. For example, you learn to ask the right questions to your engineer. How do you determine the combination between tire pressure and braking point? Those kinds of in-depth technical details. Personal PR is also part of communication. How do you present yourself and how do you give interviews? As a representative of our brand, your Porsche knowledge must be on top of your mind.” According to the Marketing & Communication Manager of PON Porsche Import, the Talent Pool is characterized by very personal support in addition to group activities. “One needs more guidance in the field of nutrition, while on the other there is something to gain in the field of attitude towards the media.”
Keep your own pants on
Of course, motorsport involves attracting partners. Neurink: “We don't act as a lender, but teach the young talents to hold their own, by helping them to develop the right skills to interest potential sponsors. How do you prepare for that conversation? What questions do you ask? When you respond to the products or services that a company offers and make a link to the sport, with an invitation to attend a training or a competition, you respond very differently than just saying that you are in a certain class of racing. To support this, we, as an importer, closely involve our dealers in the Porsche Carrera Cup Benelux and the drivers who drive there. This allows them to offer their customers a very special experience during sponsoring events. After all, not everyone gets the chance to walk around a pit lane and enjoy a hot lap in the passenger seat of a 911 GT3. The Porsche Track Experience also offers plenty of options in that regard. When we maximize the link between our brand and racing, it is good for our organization and we help talents with their career in motorsport in a decisive way.