Belfast Telegraph

Harper is to leave Porsche behind

 

Just champion: Daniel Harper gets his hands on the Porsche GB Cup but looks to be heading in a new direction
Just champion: Daniel Harper gets his hands on the Porsche GB Cup but looks to be heading in a new direction

By Sammy Hamill

Just a week after being officially crowned Britain's Porsche Carrera Cup champion, Daniel Harper has revealed that he has turned down the opportunity to take part in the junior shoot-out which could have seen him join one of the main supporting categories alongside next season's Formula One races.

The Hillsborough teenager was expected to be in Portimao in Portugal this weekend, lining up in the Porsche Supercup junior shoot-out which will determine the young driver earning a scholarship for the 2020 season and the chance to race in front of grand prix crowds.

Having graduated from the UK Ginetta Junior Championship in 2017, Harper was selected for a two-year scholarship in the British Porsche series even though he was still only 16 at the time and too young to drive on the road.

But after an impressive first season in which he won twice, at Oulton Park and Knockhill, he went on to dominate the Carrera Cup GB this year, winning eight of the 16 races and setting the most fastest laps.

Last weekend he was presented with the Carrera Cup at the awards night in Ascot where he also picked up the keys to a Porsche 922 Carrera and a Porsche Design watch for his fastest laps record.

Highly regarded by Porsche Motorsport, Harper was one of the major candidates for a scholarship role in the Mobil 1 Supercup series next season.

But in a surprise post on his Facebook page, he wrote: "I have made the decision to pull out of the Porsche Junior shoot-out this weekend at Portimao. The reasons why will be announced in due course."

He has given no indication what his reasons might be but, having taken a year out after finishing his A Level studies at Dromore High School to pursue his racing career, it seems Harper intends to depart the Porsche group and move in another direction.

Meanwhile, three other Irish drivers have been shortlisted for Motorsport Ireland's lucrative Young Driver of the Year award which will be announced next month.

In contention for the €50,000 bursary, which was won last year by Belfast's Charlie Eastwood, now racing in the World Endurance Championship, are Max Hart, William Kellett and James Roe Jnr.

Nine drivers have been nominated for the rally equivalent, the Billy Coleman Award, and the list, which will be whittled down to three, includes two rising Ulster stars in William Creighton and Josh McErlean.

Marty McCormack, a former winner, heads the entry list for the RAC (Roger Albert Clark) Rally which gets under way from Leominster on Thursday.

The event for historic cars is a throwback to the days of the old round Britain RAC Rally and will see crews tackle some 30 forest stages from Wales to Scotland over the next four days.

McCormack, who won the last round of the Irish Tarmac series in Cork, switches from his regular R5 cars to drive his Mk2 Ford Escort and is joined in the line-up by fellow Ulstermen Paul Barrett, Adrian Hetherington, Keith McIvor and David Greer.

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