With a jump start into adulthood
Bastian Buus (DK), Porsche Junior 2023
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- Bastian Buus from Denmark is the new Porsche Junior for the 2023 season
- From a Danish village to the racetracks of the world
- Rookie title winner in the 2022 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup
- Buus now targets Supercup overall victory with BWT Lechner Racing
- Porsche Junior programme supports talented young racers since 1997
The Autodromo Nazionale Monza in June 2021: round eight of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland on the Formula 1 circuit in northern Italy. Just seconds before the start, Bastian Buus overheats the clutch, his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup starts rolling long before the signal. “I was handed a drive-through penalty as punishment. The fact that I was the fastest on the track when it started raining didn’t help me a lot.” Instead of fighting for victory, Buus finished 19th: “It wasn’t exactly one of the best days of my life.”
Straight after the race, consolation arrived in the form of his sister Marie and mother Rikke – who had travelled to Monza especially for his birthday – and his father Morten. “My dad accompanies me to almost all of my races. Last season, we spent 22 weekends travelling together,” says Bastian Buus. The Buus family lives in Nørre Bjert, a town of 7,000 near Kolding on the Baltic Sea. With its tidy, red-brick houses, colourful wooden holiday homes with fjord views, and a simple, white-washed church, all is still right with the world in Nørre Bjert. “I love my home,” states Buus junior. “My friends are here and any spare time I have after my other commitments is spent with them.”
Since 1977, the Porsche Junior programme has supported 28 racing drivers on their path up the career ladder, making it one of the most successful youth development programmes in motor racing. The careers of today’s Porsche brand ambassador Timo Bernhard (Porsche Junior from 2000 to 2001) as well as Marc Lieb (2000 to 2002) and Earl Bamber (2014) are perfect examples. All three have won the legend-ary 24 Hours of Le Mans and claimed titles in the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC at least once in the Porsche 919 Hybrid. Thomas Preining, Porsche Jun-ior from 2017 to 2018, won two DTM races last year with the 911 GT3 R. Buus’ immediate predecessor is Laurin Heinrich. The German was chosen from the selection process at the end of 2021. The 21-year-old wrapped up the 2022 season as the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland champion and clinched third overall in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. Heinrich has already advanced into the DTM as a driver for Timo Bernhard’s Team75 Bernhard.
Hobby racer Morten Buus was instrumental in igniting his son’s passion for motorsport following the classic path – although it took a little longer than usual: “When I was seven, my father took me to a kart track for the first time,” recalls Buus with a grin. “But I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic – I thought the racing overalls looked stupid...” Two years later, the spark finally ignited. From that point on, the Buus boys became regulars at the Vojens kart track a few kilometres south of Kolding. At the age of 14, Bastian Buus finally arrived on the international karting scene: races in the German championship, in Europe, in the world championship – his career took off.
“I’ve also played motorsport video games on the computer since I was six,” adds Buus. “Sim racing teaches you instinct and sharpens your reflexes.” In the meantime, Buus has become so proficient in this field that he contests virtual races at a professional level for the Porsche Coanda Esports works team. In 2019, this talent also gave Buus one of the most decisive boosts in his career to date: When Allied Racing was searching for drivers for its Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport at a kart race with the help of a simulator, the then 16-year-old impressed by setting the fastest time of the day – and earned himself the cockpit. The following season, he and Germany’s Jan Kasperlik won the ProAm title in the GT4 European Series for the Bavarian squad. “Never before in this championship has a ProAm team clinched three overall victories,” says Buus, justifiably proud. “Honestly, after that first victory, I set my sights on becoming a Porsche Junior!”
In 2021, he progressed with Allied Racing into the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. For the following season, he also contested the Porsche Carrera Cup France with Allied Racing and the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup driving for BWT Lechner Racing – including his first race in Monaco. “It’s my favourite circuit – if you can call this street course a racetrack,” grins Buus. In 2022, he gained experience in endurance racing with guest appearances in the GT World Challenge, including the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. “One day, I’d like to contest the Nürburgring 24-hour race,” he announces.
His father Morten has now left his job to take care of his son full-time. “I’ve never actually called him my manager but that’s exactly what he does,” reflects Buus Jr. Meanwhile, the pair has built a circle of supporters, which they have dubbed the “Flatout Club”. “Aside from sponsorship, a lot of it is about networking quite apart from motor racing,” explains the new Porsche Junior. In this way, he can practice the theory he learned at school: The 19-year-old attends a commercial high school in Denmark. Combining lessons with his time-consuming racing commitments, however, is becoming more and more of a balancing act. “Luckily we have very liberal rules for all top sportspeople,” says Buus, outlining the benefits of being a member of official Team Denmark. “If I need extra days off for racing, I can catch up on my lessons at a later date and, if necessary, even extend the senior class by a year.” Nevertheless, he is determined to graduate in June 2023: “Then I can concentrate completely on racing.”
Buus still has big plans for his future in motorsport. It is no coincidence that he regards his fellow countryman Tom Kristensen, record holder at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with seven victories, as something of a role model. “At some point, I want to contest the endurance events at Le Mans, Daytona and Bathurst – preferably at the wheel of a Porsche works car,” says Buus outlining his future goals. He also has his eye on the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with the new Porsche 963 LMDh racer – even if it might be a squeeze for the 1.87-metre-tall youngster. “Works driver Mathieu Jaminet is about my height and he fits into the cockpit of the Porsche 963,” says Buus optimistically.
Until then, the road ahead is still long for the Porsche Junior. In 2023, he is keen to clinch the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland title with Allied Racing. After intensive negotiations with several interested teams, he recently extended his contract with BWT Lechner Racing to contest the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. Driving the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in the international one-make cup, he turned heads last year by winning the rookie class in all eight races – a record – and celebrating two overall wins. At his first triumph in Le Castellet, France, Buus was the youngest winner ever in the 30-year history of the Supercup.
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Portrait Bastian Buus, 2023 Porsche Junior: With a jump start into adulthood