Porsche Young Driver Academy Participants - L-R: Sloan Urry, Elliott Skeer, Colin Thompson, Austin Cindric, Scott Hargrove
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama. Porsche is continuing its longstanding legacy of recognizing and developing young talent, as five standout North American drivers are learning to hone their skills on and off the track during the third annual Young Driver Academy Oct. 19-20 at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Alabama.
Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) and Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) invited Austin Cindric, Scott Hargrove, Elliott Skeer, Colin Thompson and Sloan Urry to participate in the two-day, all-encompassing program.
Hargrove, Thompson and Urry are veterans of the North American one-make IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge championships. Hargrove, from Surrey, British Columbia, won the 2014 season title in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin. Thompson, from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, won the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama championship in 2014. Urry, from Park City, Utah, finished fourth in the USA series in 2014 and second in 2013.
Skeer, from San Diego, made his debut in 2014 in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and is a multiple race winner in entry-level single-make North American sports car competition. Cindric, from Mooresville, North Carolina, completed his second junior open-wheel championship season in North America and raced in Red Bull Global Rallycross in 2014 after extensive, successful short-track oval and karting experience.
The Young Driver Academy provides promising North American drivers with an opportunity to reap the numerous benefits of a program based on Porsche's European Junior selection process. PMNA and PCNA emphasize evaluation and development of the young drivers during the Academy, with the goal of discovering and nurturing talent in the United States and Canada that can reach maximum potential..
"We are now in our third year of the Porsche Young Driver Academy here in North America," said PMNA president and CEO Jens Walther. "In that time, we have welcomed many of the sports' top young talents to Barber Motorsports Park, and we continue to witness their progress up the ladder of sports car racing. While those invited are part of a small sampling of the remarkable driving talent available in the United States and Canada, we are proud to see the graduates of this program competing worldwide. This is not a competition but an opportunity for these drivers to learn skills that will provide ongoing benefit to their racing career both on and off the racetrack. We have seen the results in the success of the first two years. This year's class promises to have that same level of impact on the future of motorsports."
The comprehensive Academy experience includes classroom training in racing technique and media/sponsor relations, as well as off-track driver skill evaluation. All five drivers also will turn laps on the challenging 17-turn, 2.38-mile circuit at Barber Motorsports Park in identically prepared Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars.
Classroom and track instruction will be led by Porsche racing legend and lead Porsche Sport Driving School instructor Hurley Haywood, Porsche factory driver Patrick Long and GT racing champion Andrew Davis. Owen Hayes, director of operations for Porsche Motorsports North America, Dave Engelman, media relations manager - Motorsports and Brand Heritage, and other Porsche representatives and industry professionals also will provide training and evaluation.
The first two classes from the Young Driver Academy have continued to advance their careers at a high level of performance, further emphasizing Porsche's commitment to identifying and developing talent in North America.
Class of 2013 members David Ostella and Madison Snow climbed to the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in the 2014 season. Ostella drove in the Prototype Challenge class for Performance Tech Motorsports. Snow raced in the GT Daytona class with Snow Racing in a Porsche 911 GT America car.
Fellow Class of 2013 members Angel Benitez Jr. and Michael Lewis finished second and third, respectively, in the ultra-competitive Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama championship.
2012 Young Driver Academy participant Sean Johnston raced for the second consecutive season in 2014 in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and Porsche Carrera Cup Germany with Team Project 1.
Fellow 2012 participant Cooper MacNeil won the 2013 American Le Mans Series GTC championship in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, raced in the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Porsche and finished third in the GT Daytona class championship of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship driving a Porsche 911 GT America. Another member of the Class of 2012, Kyle Marcelli, competed in a wide variety of elite-level machinery in 2014, including Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona in the TUDOR Championship, and in a Porsche in the Grand Sport class of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
The final member of the 2012 class, Spencer Pigot, finished third in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin and won the Pro Mazda junior open-wheel championship.
2014 Participant Driver Profiles.
Age: 16 (Sept. 2, 1998)
Residence: Mooresville, North Carolina
Experience: Competed in Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda in 2013-14, with runner-up finish in 2014 at Indianapolis ... Also made limited starts in 2014 in Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and Pirelli World Challenge ... Finished sixth in GRC Lites class of Red Bull Global Rallycross in 2014 ... Earned one victory in HSR Historic competition in 2013 ... Earned four feature victories in INEX U.S. Legends cars and two victories in Skip Barber Formula Winter Series in 2012 ... Competed in karting in 2012-13, including Rotax Junior and Senior classes in 2013 ... Raced in INEX Bandoleros and Legends cars in 2010-11.
Age: 19 (Feb. 1, 1995)
Residence: Surrey, British Columbia
Experience: Won 2014 Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin championship with six victories in 10 starts in OpenRoad Racing entry. Finished first or second in all 10 starts ... Finished second in Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by 10 points to GT3 Canada rival and former Young Driver Academy participant Spencer Pigot. Also finished second in Pro Mazda Winterfest ... Won 2013 Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda championship with four victories in 14 starts. Finished second in 2013 Cooper Tires Winterfest championship and fourth among 57 entries in Kent class at 2013 Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, England, as Team Canada scholarship recipient. Best finish ever by a Canadian driver in this prestigious event ... Earned one podium finish in Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda in 2012 ... Finished second in 2011 Skip Barber Summer Series, with three victories ... Began karting at age 13.
Age: 20 (Sept. 17, 1994)
Residence: San Diego
Experience: Won Street Tuner class pole in Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge debut in May 2014 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and teamed to finish race second in class. Served as test and reserve driver for CJ Wilson Racing's Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge program ... Finished second in Mazda MX-5 Cup championship in 2013 with five victories and nine podium finishes. Also competed in Porsche Club of America events in GT4 class Porsche Boxster, with multiple podium finishes ... Earned one victory and five podium finishes in Mazda MX-5 Cup ... Made transition from karting to sports cars in 2011 in Spec Miata competition, winning championship in Teen Mazda Challenge. Won MX-5 Cup Shootout in 2011, earning factory MX-5 Cup ride in 2012 ... Competed in karting from age 6 through 2010.
Age: 20 (Feb. 17, 1994)
Residence: Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Experience: Won 2014 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama championship with three victories, including win in pressure-packed final round of season at Road Atlanta in Kelly Moss Motorsports/Porsche of Bucks County entry ... Finished eighth in 2013 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama with two podium finishes in family-owned Thompson Racing entry ... Competed in Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda, Cooper Tires Winterfest and F1600 Formula F open-wheel series in 2012, with one victory in F1600 ... Finished fifth in F1600 Formula F championship in 2011 with three podium finishes in eight starts ... Competed in Jetta TDI Cup in 2010 ... Began racing at age 5, progressing from karts to open-wheel cars in his early teens.
Age: 22 (Aug. 2, 1992)
Residence: Park City, Utah
Experience: Finished fourth in 2014 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama with three victories in JDX Racing entry, his third consecutive top-10 finish in Platinum Cup championship ... Finished second in 2013 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama with two victories in Effort Racing entry ... Finished seventh in 2012 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama with TruSpeed Motorsports ... Made Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama debut in 2011 in Gold Cup class with limited schedule with TruSpeed Motorsports ... Began racing in 2010 in MPRA Mustang Series at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.
About Porsche Motorsport North America
Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA), located in Santa Ana, California, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Porsche AG and the sole sales and service provider for the German sports car maker's North American customer sports programs. Porsche is the largest manufacturer of race cars with a wide range of products from the 911 GT3 Cup car to the ultimate 911 RSR. PMNA sells these models to customer teams in North America and provides them with parts, service and expertise in between races and at the track. The PMNA service truck is a fixture at most race tracks in the U.S. and Canada, staffed by factory engineers to service all of Porsche's customer teams.
About Porsche Cars North America
Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), based in Atlanta, Ga. is the exclusive U.S. importer of Porsche sports cars, including the Macan and Cayenne SUVs and the Panamera sports sedan. Established in 1984, it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Porsche AG, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, and employs approximately 270 people who provide parts, service, marketing and training for 189 dealers. They, in turn, work to provide Porsche customers with a best-in-class experience that is in keeping with the brand's 66-year history and leadership in the advancement of vehicle performance, safety, and efficiency.
At the core of this success is Porsche's proud racing heritage that boasts some 30,000 motorsport wins to date.
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