Recently-crowned Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America Pro champion Riley Dickinson is representing the North American market in the annual Porsche Junior Shootout which begins today in Portugal.
Twelve young racers from around the world will gather at the Algarve International Circuit in Portimão, Portugal, for the chance to impress and earn the chance to become an official Porsche junior.
Winning the shootout can be an important stepping stone in a young racer’s career within the Porsche family.
Previous winners of the shootout include current Porsche Penske Motorsport 963 racer Matt Campbell (2016) and Jaxson Evans (2018) who was brought in recently to assist Dickinson at a post-season test to help him acclimatize himself with running a Porsche Cup car without ABS as used in the shootout.
Prior to heading to Europe, Dickinson spoke with Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America series commentator John Hindhaugh on the Midweek Motorsport podcast – click here to listen.
“Going to the Porsche Junior shootout is something that I’ve been working towards for quite a while, and been wanting to have that invitation to go and compete at that,” Dickinson said.
“It’s a very high-level event and world-renowned for Porsche as far as their ladder system is concerned. I don’t really know a whole lot about the Portimao circuit and I don’t think any of the 12 drivers in the shootout have been there before.
“I’ve done quite a bit of sim preparation. I was able to find a fairly respectable sim file for that on Assetto Corsa. I have a simulator at home that I can drive as much as I would like to. I’ve also been watching a bunch of videos and reached out to various different contacts that I have that have actually been to the track and driven it.
“I have been doing as much preparation as I can on the front end to get local knowledge of the track, various track characteristics, what curbs to take, what curbs not to take, how much you cut here, how much you cut there – how you use the track limits to your advantage and not make it your disadvantage.
“Ultimately, at the end of the day, once we get there the shootout starts and everything gets put off to the side and you’re there to go compete. It’s going to be a great event and I’m very much looking forward to it.
“It’s been something that I’ve been working towards for quite a while now, and I have to give a huge thank you to Porsche Motorsport North America for trusting me as their selection to go and compete. It definitely could be one of the biggest weeks of my life.”
While the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machine is the same car used in all Carrera Cup compeition across the globe and in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup – the Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America championship runs with ABS.
“PMNA has done a fantastic job of trying to aid that transition from ABS to non-ABS. They assisted with a test after the season finished,” Dickinson said.
“We were able to do a one-day test in Texas after COTA. We had a little bit of mixed conditions with some weather, but had a wide range of opportunities to try a bunch of different things.
“PMNA helped with having Jaxon Evans come over to help me at the test – he is a former Porsche junior and winner of the shootout. That changed his career completely. He’s still with the Porsche brand today. He’s actually run a little bit with Kellymoss with their GTD program with Riley Motorsports in WeatherTech this year.
“So there’s already an excellent standing relationship there, but he came in to coach and assist me in some differences that I could try and learn and feel out ultimately, I feel like it went very well.
“Running without ABS is a lot more fun because you have a bit more feel with the car. What I quickly found out at our test is that muscle memory of just giving a bit more pressure is absolutely not the way to go.
“You’re immediately going to smoke the inside front, and there’s nothing you can do. It was good to work through that muscle memory and know what I shouldn’t be doing.”
Dickinson is looking to follow in some massive footsteps as the sole American driver to contest the shootout this year.
“For me, it’s more about me being able to put my foot in the door with Porsche AG and Manthey Racing that are going to be the ones that are going to run the operation for us this week,” he said.
“It’s going to be more about just me being able to put my best foot forward in front of that group of individuals that ultimately, later on down the line, could change my life and help my dream come true – that is to follow in the footsteps of Hurley Haywood and Patrick Long as the next American factory driver.
“Porsche Motorsport North America has done a fantastic job in developing a ladder system that you can actually see each rung on the ladder and envisage how to get to that end goal.
“That goal of becoming a Porsche factory driver is the same for probably ten or maybe even 20 other drivers that were on the Carrera Cup North America grid this year.
While victory in the shootout is the ultimate goal in what will be intense competition, Dickinson’s focus is to simply do the very best job he can.
“If you let that pressure consume you, you’re not going to have the best result,” he said.
“Especially if you go in worrying and thinking about the expectations. You’re not going to be able to put your best performance together.
“I have to focus on what I know how to do – which is to go drive a Cup car as quickly as I can.