The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup heads into its 30th season at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit in Italy’s Imola this coming weekend (22 to 24 April 2022).
The success story of the international one-make cup began in April 1993 at this same venue. In 2022, eight races will be contested as support to European rounds of the FIA Formula One World Championship. Nine teams from Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Sweden, France and Germany will tackle the race in Imola with a total of 33 drivers from 12 countries. At selected events, Porsche Motorsport will campaign the No. 911 VIP car. The guest driver at the season opener run as part of the support programme to the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix is the five-time motorcycle world champion Jorge Lorenzo. The 34-year-old Spaniard contests his first automobile race in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“The 30th anniversary of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup promises to be one of the most exciting. The official pre-season test already underlined how competitive it will be at the top. At least a dozen drivers are good for podium spots. A capacity grid, a new team to the series and six rookies also show just how popular the Supercup is. On top of this, it’s a wonderful opportunity to kick off this season on the same racetrack that hosted the very first Supercup race back in 1993. Nevertheless, we’re not only committed to tradition. The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup is also working towards a sustainable future, which has involved the use of renewable fuels since the 2021 season,” states Oliver Schwab, Project Manager Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
Defending champion Larry ten Voorde shares Schwab’s view of the fierce rivalry at the top. “To win the overall title for the third time straight will be very difficult,” explains the Dutchman who competes for the reigning team champion GP Elite. Ten Voorde faces tough competition for the crown, among others from the former Supercup champion Michael Ammermüller from Germany, who makes a comeback in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup after two years, and the Porsche-Junior Laurin Heinrich. Like Ammermüller, the youngster competes for SSR Huber Racing.
“I’m excited to tackle my first race as a Porsche-Junior and my first race at Imola,” says the 20-year-old from Germany’s Würzburg region. “I think this racetrack is one of the most difficult on the Supercup calendar after Monaco. Still, it’s huge fun driving the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup there.” Laurin Heinrich named Porsche Junior and receives comprehensive support.
Three questions for MotoGP legend Jorge Lorenzo
Until your retirement at the end of the 2019 season you were one of the world’s best motorbike racers. How difficult was the transition to a race car?
The bike is much faster on the straights and it accelerates better, whereas a car is much faster in the corners. On a motorbike, you have to constantly use your body to transfer weight to the front, rear or sides. Obviously, that’s not possible in a car. In the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, you have to use the throttle and brake to transfer weight from the front to the rear axle. I still have to learn this. I think it’s possible for a motorbike racer to switch to a racing car and be competitive but it’s not possible the other way round.
You got to know the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup during test sessions, among others in Imola. What is your impression?
I have a lot of fun driving the 911 GT3 Cup, although it’s a very demanding racing car, especially because it has neither ABS braking nor traction control. But they say it’s the best car to learn. If you’re quick in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, you’re quick in every GT car.
What do you expect from your very first car race?
I’ve never raced in Imola, not even on a motorbike. Plus, my debut will be on the highest level possible with a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. The Supercup drivers are the best in the world with this car. It’ll be very difficult for me to finish within the top 20. But I simply couldn’t say no to the opportunity to race in Imola in front of a Formula One crowd.
Opened in 1953, the racetrack on the outskirts of Imola is one of the most traditional circuits in Formula One, which returned here in 2020 after a 13-year break. The 4.909-kilometre rollercoaster course follows the natural contours of the Emilia-Romagna hills. On 25 April 1993, the Porsche Supercup celebrated its world debut on this racetrack named after the Ferrari founder and his son. Germany’s Uwe Alzen crossed the finish line as the winner in the ca. 202 kW (275 PS) Porsche 911 Carrera RS (Generation 964). Until 2006, Imola and the San Marino Grand Prix were regular fixtures on the Supercup calendar. Now, Porsche’s international one-make cup returns to the place of its premiere performance to contest its 304th race.
Schedule round 1 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup (all times CEST)
Friday, 22 April
18:30 – 19:15: Free practice
Saturday, 23 April
14:00 – 14:30: Qualifying
Sunday, 24 April
12:05: Race (14 laps)
2022 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup calendar *
22 – 24 April, Imola (Italy)
26 – 29 May, Monte-Carlo (Monaco)
01 – 03 July, Silverstone (Great Britain)
08 – 10 July, Spielberg (Austria)
22 – 24 July, Le Castellet (France)
26 – 28 August, Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)
02 – 04 September, Zandvoort (Netherlands)
09 – 11 September, Monza (Italy)
* subject to change