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Skeer Represents America
In Two-Day Porsche Shootout

CARLSBAD, Calif., Oct. 14 - Young Elliott Skeer is both humbled and proud, but most of all he's excited about the possibility of having his dream of becoming a Porsche junior factory driver come true.

Skeer, 21, recently returned to his home in Carlsbad, Calif. from his first trip to Europe, where he represented the United States at a private, two-day test Porsche conduced at the Eurospeedway Lausitz in Germany to select the next up-and-coming junior driver the prestigious factory will nurture.

That overall development is the true prize, but the more concrete award is 200,000 euros to compete in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup series in 2016.

"It was all humbling, because a year earlier I was just trying to figure out a way to race a Porsche anywhere," said Skeer.

But that was before he earned a wildcard entry in the Porsche Young Driver's Academy in 2014, was awarded an IMSA scholarship supported by Porsche and Yokohama in early 2015, joined Wright Motorsports, and earned the 2015 drivers' championship in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama in September after a 16-race season that began in March.

He earned both the overall championship and the Rookie of the Year award after posting five victories, 13 podium finishes and 10 pole positions. He sealed up the championship in front of a record 57,531 fans at Porsche Rennsport Reunion V at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., on Sept. 26. He led all 29 laps of the first half of the doubleheader there, taking the checkered flag with nearly a 5-second lead.

Porsche was watching, and immediately invited him to travel to Germany in October to compete in the shootout. Skeer was one of nine drivers from around the world invited to participate.

"It was humbling and an honor to represent Porsche Motorsport North America in the Porsche International Scholarship Shootout," Skeer said. "To be competing for a Porsche junior scholarship has been a dream of mine for years now, so to be at the event and to be showing well was a surreal experience.

"I learned so much in the two days, and pushed 100 percent every lap on track," he added. "I am very happy with my performance, and I left the shootout with the American flag in hand and my head held high.

"Of course this would not have been possible without the success of the 2015 racing season, which I have so many people to thank for," he continued. "I must thank Porsche Motorsports North America for its support over the last year, and John Wright for my success during the season. IMSA, Yokohama, Town Porsche, and DirtFish also supported my campaign. I also want to thank Fred Chin, my family, and the many friends who all contributed to my success this year.

"No matter what the outcome, 2016 is looking positive and I can't wait to see what Porsches I will be driving next year!"

While Skeer represented America, two contestants came from Australia and the others hailed from France, Italy, England, Scandinavia, Japan and Germany.

Lap times were important, but so were communication skills integral to media and sponsor relations, and the quality of feedback the drivers provided to their engineers. Porsche's talent scouts are not just looking for a fast race car driver; they are searching for a true manufacturer's ambassador.

"Porsche is looking for the complete package; the on-track performance and consistency are very important, but they also need someone who will represent Porsche well in TV interviews, private interviews, and in general discussions," Skeer explained. "They looked at everything, including our feedback when working with the engineers and how we were able to convey what the car is doing throughout each lap. All of that is taken into account."

During the course of the two-day test the nine participants drove the same type of Porsche that Skeer has been driving in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA — the 460-horsepower Porsche 911 GT3 Cup — only this time the car sported Michelin tires rather than the Yokohamas used in Porsche GT3 Cup USA.

"It was the exact same car except it was a brand-new chassis, so I was very comfortable with the car," Skeer explained. "The only difference was the tire brand, but I got used to the Michelins quickly.

"The Lausitzring is a very interesting track," he said of continental Europe's only oval superspeedway. Located in Eastern Germany, it was built on the site of a former coal mine.

"It's sort of like an American roval — a road course inside an oval — so it had an American feel," Skeer said. "It's pretty unique. It's fairly flat all over, but it also has a few bumps. It was a fun track to drive, and it would be a fun track to race on."

The on-track portion of the test took about a day and a half. "The first day was a Monday, and we were on track all day," Skeer said. "On Tuesday we had a five-lap qualifying run and a 15-lap race run, so we were done pretty early the next day. We probably did about 40 laps in all. No one shared any lap times so we don't know how we finished. You never knew how you were doing compared to anyone else, but I think I was very consistent and I was very happy with my lap times, so I was very happy with my performance."

Skeer said he'd heard of some of the other competitors before the test, and it was nice to finally meet them in person. "It was a very good group, and we are now good friends," he said. "We're all very competitive though."

The accommodations were unique. "It was a very cool little hotel maybe 15 minutes outside the track," he said. "It was an old lighthouse that had been converted into a hotel. It was right on a lake, and it was very picturesque. Just being there helped calm the nerves before the test. This was my first trip to Germany, and I got a little time to do a quick tour of Berlin. I'm going back in early December for the Night of Champions too.

"The shootout was a high-pressure event because we all want to become a Porsche factory driver someday," Skeer concluded. "It was pretty humbling and cool at the same time. Being a Porsche event, everything was very fair and run very well," he added. "It was a very well-coordinated event, as you would think it would be with Porsche, since it stands for exceptional quality."