For years, ZF’s Schweinfurt-based subsidiary ZF Race Engineering has partnered young racing drivers working out of the Porsche complex in Zuffenhausen. As part of this sponsorship program, the young Porsche Junioren drivers visit a ZF plant once a year so they can find out more about ZF technology in general and ZF products in racing cars in particular. The young drivers are given direct access to ZF engineers.
“This interaction between ZF engineers and Porsche’s junior drivers is the basis of our shared sporting success,” explains Thomas Jörns, in charge of all things driveline-related at ZF Race Engineering, as he discusses the meaning and purpose of these regular exchanges. Jörns emphasizes that the two companies’ many years of collaboration encompass a whole range of national and international race series and applications – like the World Endurance Championship (WEC), to take just one high-profile example. He recalls this year’s spectacular Le Mans finale, won in blinding style by Porsche. “Not least thanks to the reliability of the ZF products in the victorious Porsche car,” adds Jörns with a smile. Through the company’s involvement with the Porsche Junioren team, ZF is aiming to consolidate an ongoing, sustainable partnership with Porsche that will maintain an exceptionally positive balance between the rigorous demands of motorsport and the skills needed to overcome them.
During the braking workshop for the Porsche Junioren drivers, there was plenty of time for practice sessions on the Hunsrück test track. The young Porsche drivers tested ZF’s braking systems to the limit, both on a special, water-soaked tiled circuit and on the (equally wet and slippery) skidpan. “The exciting part was exploring the braking balance between front and rear axles, so as to prevent the wheels from locking,” was Porsche Junior Sven Müller’s crisp summary. His ultimate conclusion? In motorsport, braking is anything but counterproductive!