Guiseley teenager Lorcan Hanafin targeting Porsche Carrera Cup glory
Seventeen-year-old A-Level student Hanafin may only have passed his driving test in February but has already built up an impressive CV driving in the Junior Clio Cup and the Ginetta Junior Championship.
And, despite being the second-youngest driver in the Carrera Cup series this year, Hanafin signalled his intent for the season ahead by topping the time sheets in testing this week ahead of Sunday’s opening two races at Donington Park.
“It was quite a big jump up,” said Hanafin of his first experience of driving his JTR Porsche.
“I was used to driving the junior formulas on road tyres with 100 horse power but the Carrera Cup car has 485 break horse power and slick tyres so it was a big jump.
“I’m going straight in at the pro’ level in the championship. I’m looking to aim for around the top-8 to top-6 level.
“The JTR team won the championship last year with Dan Harper and they’ve run the car numerous times and they know how to set up a car so I’m really glad to be working with them and looking forward to the challenge.”
Owing to the coronavirus outbreak, the Porsche Carrera Cup season has been condensed into a much shorter time period than normal, so Hanafin is aware he will be thrown in at the deep end with a total of eight races to negotiate next month alone.
“It’s pretty full-on when it gets started,” he added. “It’s the first and second weekends in August, we then have a weekend off before two more weekends in August.
“Then it’s a couple of weekends in September, one in October and one in November.
“So it’s a pretty busy calendar particularly as I’m trying to juggle A-Levels along with it.”
However, given how the Bradford Grammar School student has taken to motorsport so far in his career, expect him to be challenging at the front of the grid before too long.
Hanafin said: “My dad used to rally at national level in Ireland and a bit in England as well and he bought me a go-kart for my fifth birthday and I’ve never looked back since.
“I started karting when I was eight and moved into cars – the Junior Clio series – in 2017 when I was only 14 then got seven out of eight pole positions and three race wins and finished second in the championship by one point.
“So it was a great result considering it was my first season in cars.”
From there he moved up to the Ginetta Junior Championship and finished fourth in his first full season which attracted the attentions of JTR boss Nick Tandy who quickly snapped up the Guiseley youngster for this year’s Carrera Cup series.
Hanafin’s long-term ambition is to become a World Endurance Championship driver and get to compete at Le Mans.
But in the meantime, he will be putting himself in the shop window this weekend when his Porsche Carrera Cup debut will be televised as part of ITV4’s British Touring Car Championship coverage.
Hanafin added: “It’s really great to be on the touring car package because there is so much exposure, particularly with ITV4 showing the races live and there’s up to seven million viewers watching per weekend which is ridiculous really.
“It’s great for attracting sponsors as well.”
Hanafin’s races get under way on Sunday at 11.50am and 4.30pm.
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