The pit stage at the Nürburgring looks completely normal at first glance, with a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup sitting in the garage. A group of young men are standing around the car, all dressed in overalls, and two of them are hard at work. Fabian Bethien and Lukas Zaeske frantically move around the Cup car, fully focused as they take turns changing tyres.
The task at hand is called the Pitstop Challenge, and over and over again, the whistle of the wheelie gun echoes through the air. What looks like a typical drag race scene is in fact part of a Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland pilot project. Here at the Nürburgring, 13 trainees from Porsche Centers across Germany have had the opportunity to actively participate in a one-make cup race weekend for the first time.
“Our Porsche Centers represent the highest quality and are an essential component of the brand experience. Like motor sports, they are an integral part of Porsche’s appeal,” explains Alexander Pollich, CEO of Porsche Deutschland GmbH. “From there came the idea of giving the youngest members of our ‘family’ a very special Porsche experience where they can get involved in motorsport and bring our brand values into their daily working lives.”
The Porsche Centers in Berlin Potsdam, Berlin Adlershof, Berlin City, Hamburg and Stuttgart nominated their trainees for the project. During an action-packed weekend at the Nürburgring, the group enjoys an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the One-Make Cup.
Visiting the Manthey headquarters
First on the busy schedule is a trip to the Manthey headquarters. The Meuspath team has won the legendary Nürburgring 24-hour race seven times. Racing is in the DNA of the Porsche partner, which also provides support and technical expertise to the Porsche Carrera Cup teams. While trainees work with production cars every day, at Manthey their all-round training focuses on the latest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect to get such a deep look. There was a lot to see and I got a lot of new impressions”, says Sophie Gruhn afterwards. The trainee at the Porsche Center in the city of Berlin is in the second year of her apprenticeship as an automotive mechatronics engineer and it is her first motorsport weekend.
Supporting professional crews
On Saturday, things really kick into high gear when the trainees have the opportunity to support the professional crews taking part in round nine of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. Under a clear blue sky, a 32-driver capacity grid invites fans into packed stands for some exciting racing action. Before the race, the students are divided into teams so that they can learn by doing, in the middle of a series of professional races.
Afterwards, David Prusa, whose CarTech Motorsport by Nigrin team participated in the pilot project alongside Allied-Racing, Black Falcon, Fach Auto Tech, GP Elite, Huber Racing, HRT Performance and IronForce Racing by Phoenix, says: “The Porsche Carrera Cup offers a special atmosphere. The students jumped on the challenge and I think it’s fantastic that Porsche has made this experience possible for them.”
Win exciting experiences
“These youngsters got their start in racing in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. That was our goal. It was an excellent opportunity for our trainees to immerse themselves in the world of Porsche motorsport for a weekend and gain exciting experiences,” adds Steffen Knies, Managing Director of the Porsche Center Hamburg Nord-West.
“For me, as a motorsport fan, the weekend at the Nürburgring was an incredible experience. I particularly enjoyed the combination of theory and practice,” concludes Fabian Bethien of the Porsche Center Hamburg. The young trainee has another reason to be happy: at the end of the weekend, he and his teammate Lukas Zaeske take home the Pitstop Challenge trophy after changing tires faster than any of the other entrants.