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Porsche Carrera Cup NA

Van Berlo Heading into Junior Shootout With “Open Mindset”

Carrera Cup North America runner-up Kay Van Berlo on Porsche Global Junior Shootout…

Photo: Porsche

Kay Van Berlo, the runner-up in this year’s Porsche Carrera Cup North America presented by The Cayman Islands, said he’s heading into the Porsche Junior Global Shootout with an “open mindset,” recognizing it as a “tremendous stepping stone” for his career.

The Dutchman is one of 12 drivers selected for a three-day test next week. Van Berlo was given the opportunity to take part in the shootout for the second consecutive year after winning the Junior Championship in Carrera Cup.

He finished second overall in the standings after losing out to Parker Thompson in the final round at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, but secured the nomination for the shootout by finishing as the highest Pro class driver under the age of 23.

During the three-day program, drivers will undergo medical checks and be evaluated on media awareness and professionalism, while two days will be spent focused on driving.

The winning driver will receive the title of Porsche Junior and receive funding towards a Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup drive next year.

“I’m just excited,” Van Berlo told Sportscar365. I mean, I’ve done it last year.

“It’s obviously a tremendous opportunity for young drivers like me to showcase our abilities in front of Porsche.

“In terms of preparation I have done a lot of preparation as usual, but I’m feeling pretty confident going there.

“I know Porsche is looking for a complete package so we’ll see. I’m confident in all I can do and I’m just looking forward to having a good time over there.”

Van Berlo noted that while his logical goal is to come out on top across the test, he aims to leave a good impression with an eye on potential future career opportunities regardless of the result.

“It’s a bit of an open mindset,” he said. “I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a goal.

“We all have the same goal and that’s winning the shootout. I would love to do a season in Supercup and having the support from Porsche.

“On the other hand I don’t try to focus too much on just that. I think it’s really important regardless of the outcome to do a proper job in front of Porsche.

“They decide to pick a driver for next year, but at the end of the day there’s going to be a lot of people from Porsche that are going to see you and regardless of how that is going to work out, I will be in racing for a long time.

“So you might run into these people in a couple of years from now. So I think it is just important to maximize the job on track and off track as well.

“Just be your best self and leave a good impression and work from there.”

In preparation for the shootout, Van Berlo took part in a test in a non-ABS Porsche 911 GT3 Cup at Paul Ricard, supported by factory driver Jaxon Evans.

“That is something Porsche Motorsport North America provided for the first time this year, actually,” Van Berlo said.

“They allocated a certain amount of money in order to prepare for the shootout.

“Obviously last year we realized that coming to the shootout after a full season running with ABS, which is something we do in Carrera Cup North America as opposed to most Carrera Cups in Europe, that doesn’t make things easier.

“Running without ABS is obviously completely different, so Porsche decide to allocate a certain amount of money.

“We could do it at any track but we chose Paul Ricard just because the infrastructure is a little different than in the U.S.

“At the end of the day I think it is going to be much closer to what it is going to be like during the shootout.

“On the other hand, running without ABS is all about finding the limits as soon as possible, so you have to be at a place that is a bit forgiving.

“I don’t think there is a more forgiving place than Paul Ricard, especially when you compare it to tracks in the U.S. Those are not forgiving at all.

“Having Jaxon at the track obviously was a great thing. He’s been to the shootout just like me; he’s even won it.

“Outside of the actual driving, we talked a lot about preparations for the shootout and how he has experienced this year with Porsche.

“Overall looking back at the test it’s a great preparation for the shootout, but also learning and understanding what goes on behind the scenes at Porsche.”

The 21-year-old reckons the experience gained in last year’s shootout will give him an advantage the second time round.

“Last year I went into it not really knowing what to expect and not really knowing what Porsche was looking for exactly,” he said.

“I saw what exactly Porsche is looking for, based on the kind of tests we had to do. [Stuff like] the interview, the questions, the driving on track.

“So I also knew where I lacked a little bit, so having the opportunity to work on all these little aspects in the last year and now being able to present myself again and hopefully having improved compared to last year, I think that’s a big plus.”

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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