Valters has entered the “Porsche” Junior selection and will fight for a scholarship
05/11/2023

Interview about the Porsche Motorsport Junior Selection

Photo: Porsche AG

 

25 November 2023

Valters Zviedris took part in the prestigious “Porsche Motorsport Junior Shoot-out” selection event in Portugal in mid-November. Valters was among the 12 young Porsche talents who competed at the famous Portimao circuit for a place in the Porsche Motorsport junior program and more than 200 000 euros in support for the next season. After the event, the Latvian Automobile Federation invited Valters for an interview to find out more about the selection event and how he succeeded against the world’s best Porsche juniors.

Photo: Porsche AG

With what kind of mood and expectations did you go to this event?

I was honored to be able to represent both Latvia and the “Porsche Sprint Challenge NEZ” championship. Before the event, I explored all the competitors, I saw that they have driven in very strong championships, among them the Porsche Supercup and the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany. Most of the participants were also champions or in the top three in their series, so I knew it would be interesting to compare how fast they were on and off the track.

The Porsche Motorsport Junior Selection will take place from 13 to 15 November 2023 at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve near Portimão, which regularly hosts top-level road racing events and has hosted exciting F1 rounds in 2020 and 2021. On the first day, the young athletes will undergo health checks and mental toughness tests, as well as take part in impromptu press activities and interview sessions. In the continuation of the selection, the action will turn to the track, where for two days the pilots will have to prove not only their speed on the track, but also demonstrate their knowledge of the car’s structure and adjustments in communication with Porsche engineers.

How were your first days in Portugal?

I arrived on Sunday evening, a transfer awaited me at the airport, and I received Porsche gifts at the hotel – shirts, sweaters, and other accessories. It was a very good and professional welcome. This was followed by a dinner where I got to know all the drivers and the Porsche Motorsport team. On Monday, there were various tasks, mental tests, interviews, discussions, and various questions about history, the junior program, and the Porsche brand. It is very important to them how knowledgeable you are and whether you can identify with the brand. I think I did very well in these tasks. After that, we went to the track to walk and explore it together, and we also got to know the Porsche Motorsport engineers who told us about the car’s tuning.

On the second day of the event, you were able to get behind the wheel and hit the track?

Yes, Tuesday we already spent on the track, where we had two practice sessions. I got to know the track in the first practice, because I had never driven there in my life. I also had to get used to the fact that the brake pedal was without an ABS unit, which is a big difference compared to the car I drove in the Porsche Sprint Challenge NEZ season. Therefore, it was necessary to adapt a little to both to the car and, of course, to the track. During the first practice, I realized that the track is very different from the Baltic and Finnish tracks, and much faster. I reached 270 km/h on the straight, but also the speeds in the turns were significantly higher and incomparable to what I had driven so far.

Photo: Porsche AG

How did the training go and what was the format of it in general?

The first practice went well. I managed to get used to the car and the track, but I didn’t really go too fast and didn’t take risks, because I didn’t want to cause unnecessary problems. In the second practice, I already significantly improved my time, which was also noticed by the Porsche Motorsport team and engineers, who appreciated how quickly I was able to adapt and improve my lap time. Regarding the format – there were a total of 4 new cars that were on the track at the same time, but at large distances so that they could not see each other, overtake, and not create dangerous moments. Each of us had three new sets of tires for those two days on the track. We used one new kit in both practices, which was really nice to experience on this fantastic track in Portimao.

The final day was followed by the most responsible rides on the track?

Yes, the third and final day was the most important. In the qualifying simulation, we had to set two laps as fast as possible, but also at a similar speed, to show that we could consistently repeat our speed. The limits of the track had to be respected as well, as there were corners where, by going off-track, you could get a better lap time, but it would not count. Therefore, it was necessary to be both fast and precise at the same time, so as not to leave the track with four wheels. I did well in qualifying because I improved my time by another second compared to the second practice, which made me very happy and the engineers were also pleasantly surprised.

Photo: Porsche AG

Was it possible to compare your times with the other participants of the event?

Even though we weren’t timed against each other, we all took each other’s lap times. Everyone was very fast and the overall level was impressive. Indeed the world’s best Porsche 911 GT3 CUP drivers, who are leaders in both the national championships and the “Porsche Supercup” championship, were gathered. We were also able to compare times with this year’s Porsche Supercup champion and the current Porsche Junior, Bastian Buus, who gave us a reference lap to aim for on the morning of the qualifying day. I was happy to be less than a second behind the current best Porsche GT3 Cup driver in the world, which shows that I have already reached a pretty good level after only one year behind the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 CUP car.

After the qualification simulation, were there any other tests?

Yes, we ended the day with a competition simulation. There were also four cars on the track at the same time, but just like in qualifying, we drove with large distances and without any overtaking. It was necessary to drive 13 laps at the best possible speed, but at the same time “manage” the tires and brakes. In general, I managed it successfully, but there were some small mistakes related to braking and rear tire locking. After analysing the data, I could see that I lost time only on braking from high speeds, because I had no experience with this until now. It should be noted that I haven’t raced in a long time either, the last competition was at the beginning of September. After a few practices, I would definitely have gone even faster, because the progress curve was clearly visible – from the first practice to the end of the qualification, I improved my time by 2.2 seconds.

Photo: Porsche AG

Apart from the track experience itself, what else did you gain from this Porsche Junior event?

It was a pleasure to make new friends with whom we have remained in contact even after the event. I got valuable information about the “Porsche Carrera Cup” series in Europe, what the teams are like, how the championships work, what the possibilities are, etc. All this will be useful in my further Porsche journey. It was also an honour to meet the entire Porsche Motorsport team and to work with their engineers, because I learned a lot about car tuning. Very cool three days spent, a great experience both technically and mentally. I think that I presented myself with honour. I got to know many good people, which will definitely be important in my motorsport life and career in the future. Now let’s wait for the results, because one of us 12 will become a Porsche Junior and will be able to participate in the “Porsche Supercup” next year with a scholarship of 225 000 euros.

What do you want to say at the end of the interview?

I want to say a huge thanks for this opportunity, both to “Porsche Sprint Challenge NEZ” and to Ramūnas Čapkauskas and his team for preparing me so well for this test. I would also like to thank the Latvian Automobile Federation, as well as all supporters – “Baltijas Sporta Auto – Porsche Latvija”, “Optibet Latvija”, “AOX Trade”, Jūrmala, “Visit Jūrmala”, “Blue Shock Race”, “NPK Expert”, “Joker club”, “Energolukss”, “I-Con” and SIA “Dārta”.

Follow Valters on social media – Facebook and Instagram.

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In Latvian –

https://laf.lv/zviedris-porsche-inzenieri-bija-patikami-parsteigti-par-manu-progresu/

https://sportacentrs.com/motoru_sports/24112023-zviedris_porsche_inzenieri_bija_patikami_

https://iauto.lv/sports/soseja/45924-autosportists-valters-zviedris-porsche-inenieri-bija-patkami-prsteigti-par-manu-progresu

https://4rati.lv/citi-sporta-veidi/autososeja/zviedris-porsche-inzenieri-bija-patikami-parsteigti-par-manu-progresu/