Porsche has announced the launch of a new young driver scholarship programme aimed at finding the budding sportscar drivers of the future.
Worth £100,000 in total, the 'Carrera Cup GB Scholarship Programme' will provide £50,000 to each of two drivers to use as a significant element of their budget for the 2009 Carrera Cup GB season.
The new scheme will be open to drivers aged between 17 and 22 on 1 January 2009 who hold a National A race licence and haven't previously registered as a competitor in the Carrera Cup GB.
While there is no charge for people entering the scholarship, they must demonstrate that they can secure the balance of the required budget for a full season of racing.
The plan behind the new programme is to help young drivers wanting to follow in the footsteps of past champions like Danny Watts, Damien Faulkner and Richard Westbrook and Westbrook – who went on to win the Porsche Supercup twice and is now a factory Porsche driver – admitted it was a huge opportunity for potential stars of the future.
"Without learning my trade in the Carrera Cup GB, I'd not be where I am now," he said. "It's a really good stepping-stone that Porsche has created and my advice to any one wanting to do Supercup or international GT racing, is go and do Carrera Cup GB first.
"The Scholarship Programme is a massive opportunity for two good young drivers. I'm now paid a salary as a professional racing driver and doing what I did in Carrera Cup GB certainly made that possible."
Westbrook will part of the judging panel along with Carrera Cup championship manager Marion Barnaby – with the winners being the two drivers who show the best mix of natural talent, potential, presentation and people skills and overall drive and commitment.
"This is a very important opportunity for ambitious young drivers," Barnaby added. "The Carrera Cup GB Scholarship Programme will allow two drivers to step up to the Carrera Cup in 2009 for the cost of competing in a lower profile championship.
"Clearly, Richard Westbrook's climb from the Carrera Cup GB to Porsche factory driver is a remarkable story and we hope that the scholarship will allow two more drivers to have the opportunity to build a career as a professional racing driver."
Any driver wishing to apply for the Carrera Cup GB Scholarship Programme should send a cv to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with the reasons why they think they should be selected, with applications closing on 10 October 2008.