Q&A with Walter Lechner, founder and organiser of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East season got underway on 18th November at Bahrain International Circuit as part of the well-known World Endurance Championship.
Regarded as the purest form of racing with all drivers competing in identical fifth generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cups, the unique one-make series consists of 12 races between November 2016 and April 2017.
With the eighth season of the championship continuing with the aim of providing a platform to establish more homegrown Arab racing talent, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East also plays host to some of the leading up-and-coming drivers from Europe and around the world.
Walter Lechner, the owner of Lechner Racing, founder and manager of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East explains how the series has helped popularise motor racing in the region.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East is in its eighth season, what are your expectations for this year?
I believe this season the championship has really come of age with more drivers from more countries than ever before. We’re accelerating towards a bright new future especially with an exciting trio of teenagers new to the grid. All making their debuts, all very talented and all from the region. To be in this position of growth doesn’t come overnight. It comes from years of hard work and commitment to developing motor racing in the region but this could be a special time with the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East leading the way.
This has been one of the most popular series in the Middle East. What do you attribute this appeal to?
The series is of a high professional standard but at the same time it’s open to anyone in the region. It’s for all backgrounds and levels of racing experience and we are able to train up drivers and work with them to ensure that required licenses are achieved. They just need to have the passion, the commitment and a desire to learn.
The series is now very well established. So it is regarded as a proven pathway to international motor racing but also the ultimate opportunity for passionate racers to experience professional motorsport.
What are the strengths of this series? What makes it so appealing?
Ten years ago we wanted to create a professional racing series here in the Middle East. It took a lot of time and effort to establish but our efforts have paid off. We adhere to all FIA regulations within the series to deliver global standards for racing conditions. To add to that, the cars that the guys are driving are elite racing cars and we provide highly trained engineers.
Some series have come and gone with time but the Middle East does not have any other motorsport championships which can claim to match the standards delivered by the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East and we are very proud of that fact. We’ve grown with time and gotten stronger.
The series was designed to provide a platform for young Arab racing talent from the region to really progress in motorsport by driving on their own local tracks. In the past anyone from the Middle East with a passion for motorsport had to travel to Europe to get experience and develop. There was and remains a lack of racing in the region so giving these guys a professional set up in which they can grow and develop has really helped the series to become successful. There is now a structure and an easier pathway. We have teenagers who are students come in from Sundays to Thursdays and racing drivers take their place on Fridays and Saturdays. That was unheard of before the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Middle East was established.
To learn more: