Porsche is set to expand its ‘Selected Driver’ program, with up to two additions from other regions to join Christina Nielsen in the new-for-2018 initiative, according to Head of Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser.
The German manufacturer confirmed Nielsen as the first member in December, as the two-time and defending IMSA GT Daytona class champion has made the switch to a Wright Motorsports-run Porsche 911 GT3 R this year.
Walliser indicated that additional drivers will be added to the program, which is reserved for Silver-rated drivers.
“At the moment, as target numbers, maybe three,” Walliser told Sportscar365. “One from the U.S., one from Europe, one from Asia. I’d make it dependent on skilled drivers.”
The program, which provides various levels of support, including fitness and media training, provides Porsche with a second level of driver development alongside its current system.
“We have some benefits of our program for factory drivers that we look what we can do,” Walliser said. “To have a closer link to the factory, that’s one idea.
“It’s not climbing the ladder up to make a Gold out of a Silver. It’s to keep the Silvers. Between Bronze and Silvers, the Silvers are the Pros of amateurs.”
The Selected Driver program comes in the wake of Porsche’s ramped up commitment to GT racing, including the addition of a factory Manthey Racing Porsche in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and new GT3 and GT4-spec machinery set to debut in 2019.
Walliser has made it no secret of his desire to expand its customer GT3 programs worldwide, particularly in Europe.