04 Jul Porsche Junior Evans on pole – Llarena youngest Supercup driver ever
TOMADO DE PORSCHE NEWSROOM | For a long time it looked as if pole position was out of reach for Jaxon Evans at round one of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup at the Red Bull Ring. With only two minutes left on the clock, the Porsche Junior from New Zealand planted his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup at the top of the timesheets ahead of the 25-strong field.
“At first I didn’t quite get the brake balance right,” explained Evans (BWT Lechner Racing). “But once I switched tyres everything went smoothly. P1 – I’ve achieved my first goal for the opening round.”
Like the Porsche Junior, Florian Latorre (CLRT) also only found his stride towards the end of the qualifying session. Just a little more than a tenth of a second behind, the Frenchman secured the spot next to Evans on the front grid row.”I didn’t expect this,” he admitted. Third in qualifying went to the German Leon Köhler (Lechner Racing Middle East) as the fastest of the nine rookies. “It couldn’t have gone better,” said the 20-year-old from Bavaria. The best-placed driver in the Pro-Am classification was the Norwegian Roar Lindland (Pierre Martinet by Alméras).
While it is common to see the fastest 16 drivers qualify within a second in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, a different type of record was set at 2020 season-opener. Mateo Llarena (MRS GT-Racing) dropped the age marker for the youngest driver to ever take part in an official event of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup to exactly 16 years, four months and nine days.
Scoring 21st in qualifying, the young driver from Guatemala, who is supported by Porsche as part of the rookie programme, was not entirely satisfied with his result. “I still lack experience with the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. I think I could do a little better in the race,” said Llarena, who is also the first driver from South America to contest an entire season of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
Llaren’s racing career spans twelve years. Supported by his father Rinaldo, he was already driving karts at the age of four. Mateo achieved successes in South America and Europe, which earned him the “FIA America Award”. After a foray into Formula 4 and a one-make cup, Llarena turned his full attention to GT racing in 2019. In the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, he competes in the No. 14 car fielded by the German team MRS GT-Racing.
Due to the global travel restrictions, Llarena will spend the entire ten weeks of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup racing season in Europe. Fortunately, home schooling is also possible from Guatemala across the Atlantic. “I’m still on school holidays at the moment. When lessons start up again, I’ll do them online.”
This weekend, drivers contesting the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup will tackle a real-life race for the first time since October 2019.
Most of the drivers have spent the last months competing in virtual racing cars. At the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, the 28th season of the international one-make cup gets underway as a support race to the Austrian Grand Prix (3 – 5 July 2020).
The 2020 calendar is made up of eight races, all run alongside the FIA Formula One World Championship. Drivers from twelve countries, including Australia, Guatemala and the USA, will take the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars. To prepare for the upcoming Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup season, two official test days were held at the Red Bull Ring.
“Judging by the two test days in Austria, the fight for the 2020 title will be between a handful of young guns who are known for their spectacular driving style. This means that the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup once again lives up to its key role as the springboard for talented young racing drivers who are eager to become works drivers.
Although the competitors will find it strange to race in front of empty grandstands, the line-up this year promises some gripping race action,” said Oliver Schwab, Project Manager Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, referring to the spectator-free races for the time being.
Porsche Junior Jaxon Evans (BWT Lechner Racing) set the fastest time at the Spielberg tests. “It felt amazing to finally sit in a real racing car,” says the New Zealander. “I’m perfectly prepared for the start of the season.” The second Porsche Junior, Ayhancan Güven (Martinet by Alméras) from Turkey, still has a score to settle at the Red Bull Ring. “The last time I drove here I got entangled in an accident in the second corner – and that was the end of my race”.
Güven is one of the few drivers to claim a victory during the postponement of real races due to the pandemic. Driving for the Porsche Esports Team, he won the GTE class of the virtual “24 Hours of Le Mans” in the digital reproduction of the Porsche 911 RSR.
The picturesque panorama of the Styrian Alps makes the 4.318-kilometre-long Red Bull Ring unique on the racing calendar. With the combination of high-speed passages and tight corners, the racetrack is famed for its many overtaking manoeuvres. Last year, Julien Andlauer (F) won the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race on the Styrian circuit.