Six out of the ten factory drivers for Porsche Penske Motorsport for next week’s 24 Hour of Le Mans have used Carrera Cup championships around the world as a springboard to their international career.
Michael Christensen, Matt Campbell, Kevin Estre, Mathieu Jaminet, Frédéric Makowiecki and Nick Tandy also sprung to prominence in championships across Germany, France, UK and Australia as well as the hotly-contested Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup which supports Formula 1 races across the globe.
Many also used the annual Porsche Junior Shoot-out as a stepping stone to their international careers – earning a spot in the annual competition via their Carrera Cup successes.
The top junior driver in the Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America will receive the PMNA nomination to head to Europe at the end of the season to battle it out at the Shootout. Porsche’s Junior program has boosted the careers of 28 racing drivers since 1997.
Porsche Penske Motorsport racer and Long Beach IMSA race winner Jaminet is a firm believer that his decision to focus his attention on sports car racing through the Porsche Carrera Cup France championship was a critical decision in his career progression.
“When I started in Carrera Cup in France back in the day, my dream was to join Porsche and one day be in the top class in endurance racing in a prototype with Porsche,” Jaminet said.
“So I can say now my dream came true.
“Joining Carrera Cup was undoubtedly the best decision in my life. We can see that today in sports car racing, there are more brands here than anywhere else in the world.”
Jaminet quickly realized in his debut season in 2015 he had made the right choice.
“I realized after the first few races, and when I got the chance to go to the Porsche Junior Shootout, I knew I was in the right hands, and this was what I wanted to do,” Jaminet said.
“You can have a great career doing sportscar racing and travel all over the world.”
“So being here in the US, in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other big races like Spa, Nürburgring, and Bathurst. This has given me great opportunities, and I can certainly recommend it. Try to join the Porsche Carrera Cup and try to have a shot at it.”
Find out more about the extensive Porsche Motorsport North America junior program by clicking here: https://porschecarreracup.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Junior-Guide-Final-V2.pdf
The Porsche Penske Motorsport drivers’ Porsche Carrera Cup journeys:
In 2012, the Danish ace joined the Porsche young driver program, finishing seventh in the 2012 Porsche Carrera Cup Germany. He finished sixth in the 2013 Porsche Supercup before becoming a factory driver.
One of three French Carrera Cup championship winners on the team. Estre contested the French series from 2008 to 2014 – winning the championship in 2011. He went on to win the Germany series in 2013 and drove in Supercup from 2011 to 2014 – finishing second in 2012 and fourth in 2013.
Probably the most experienced Carrera Cup racer on the squad. Makowiecki is another Porsche Carrera Cup France graduate. After making his debut in 2003, he finished third in 2004, second in 2006, second in 2007, fourth in 2008, third in 2009 and finally took the championship in 2010.
The Australian finished third in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia in 2015 and went on to win it in 2016. Moving to Europe in 2017, the Australian finished third in Supercup with four wins in total, including the final three races of the season.
The Frenchman finished second in Porsche Carrera Cup France in his debut season in 2015 before winning the championship in 2016 and making his Supercup debut the same year. In Supercup he finished third in the championship with three wins including a pair of poles to victory lane successes at the final round of the championship at Circuit of the Americas.
A Le Mans winner with Porche, Tandy’s Porsche journey began in 2008 when he climbed aboard the Porsche Carrera Cup UK guest car for a round at Silverstone – winning on debut. Contesting one-off races in 2009 – he finished third in his single German series race and third in his only Supercup start. He became a Supercup regular in 2010, finishing second in the points but a pair of DNFs and a disqualification pushed him back to fifth in 2011 but was champion in the German Series. He also contested the final four British rounds in 2011 – winning three out of four.