Porsche factory racer and former Carrera Cup and Supercup champion Richard Westbrook has paid tribute to Tom Bradshaw and Lewis Hopkins for winning a place on the Carrera Cup GB scholarship programme for 2009.
Nineteen year-olds Bradshaw and Hopkins were selected from six finalists in the programme designed to find two drivers to follow the path of Westbrook to being a professional sports car racer.
Each will receive £50,000 towards racing in the Carrera Cup GB next season and Westbrook will take a mentoring role with both drivers.
"Tom was excellent in the car and never put a foot wrong. He was immediately quick and got quicker," Westbrook said. "His attitude was excellent, as were his media skills and he's got the desire to go into sports car racing.
"Lewis hasn't raced on slicks, yet he was completely unfazed by the whole experience of driving a car that is a monster compared to what he is used to. His pace was superb and a big surprise. I saw raw natural ability."
However, Westbrook says that all six finalists were winners and he was hugely impressed with the standard of the finalists, who included Andrew Herron, Tom Sharp, Richard Singleton and Aaron Steele.
"I think there are six very lucky young drivers out there," he said. "It was tremendous experience for them and I feel very proud to have been part of it. I was able to witness first hand all the emotions they went through over two days and it was very nerve wracking.
"I thought the final six were absolutely phenomenal. There was a very hard fitness test and the media training was very important. But the assault course really tested their grit and determination. Then came the most important bit, the driving. The thing that I liked about them all was their immediate comment when they first got out of the car. Driving the 911GT3 Cup car blew them all away; they all had huge smiles and thoroughly enjoyed driving it.
"For young drivers, the Carrera Cup GB is an extremely good move. There are a lot of young drivers following the Formula 1 dream, just like I did. But sometime you have to take stock and accept that it's not happening. It's a hard decision to make."