Dan Harper (16, Hillsborough) has been announced as the Porsche GB 2018/19 Junior at the Porsche Carrera Cup GB ‘Night of Motorsport’ end of season awards. Following on from fellow Northern Irishman Charlie Eastwood, Harper joins an elite roll of honour that includes two champions.
A versatile driver who has already demonstrated his skills with great success on quad bikes, in karts, rallying, rallycross and circuit racing, Harper overcame incredibly tough competition from four other highly talented drivers. Fighting hard for the position over the challenging assessment day at Silverstone on Wednesday 1 November were Jamie Caroline (18, Warlingham), George Gamble (21, Nottingham), Esmee Hawkey (19, Chislehurst) and Dean Macdonald (16, Kelty).
Under the watchful eyes of a panel of experts in their respective fields, the five undertook a series of on- and off-track assessments that included sessions in the second-generation 485 hp ‘Type 991’ 911 GT3 Cup, high-intensity fitness evaluation tests and media workshops.
The purpose behind offering one of the largest prizes in UK motorsport is to identify and nurture young racing talent, and to support an entry into to the Porsche Motorsport pyramid. Highlighting the opportunity provided by the international programmes for career development is the current roster of Porsche factory drivers – over half were previously Juniors.
Former Porsche Carrera Cup GB Junior Josh Webster (2014/15) and outgoing Junior Charlie Eastwood (2016/17) both excelled during their time with the championship. Webster broke multiple records in 2014 on his way to becoming the youngest ever champion, and in 2017 completed his debut season in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup fourth in the Rookie standings. Eastwood took the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Rookie title in his first season before claiming the overall title in 2017. Both champions were on hand to offer expert opinion and guidance throughout the assessment day.
James MacNaughton, Motorsport Manager, Porsche Cars GB said: “This year we found ourselves in a position where, even at the interview stage, we found it hard to narrow down the applicants. So much so that we decided to increase the number attending the shootout to five. On the day itself, much of the assessment falls to the experts we have attending, which allows us to stand back and take more of an overview.
“Dean, Esmee, George and Jamie are four supremely talented individuals on and off the track, their records speak for themselves, and the differentiators on the day were so small. I’d like to thank them all for their passion, professionalism and dedication throughout the process and hope that they still have Carrera Cup GB firmly in their sights.
“Our programme has gone from strength to strength and both of our past winners have taken the championship. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Dan to carry on that legacy of success and one that I am sure he will grab with both hands. We’re looking forward to helping him hone his skills as a world-class driver over the course of his two years with us.”