- Talented American racer’s burgeoning momentum stopped in its tracks by travel restrictions
- Californian ruled out of Porsche Supercup curtain-raiser after being denied EU entry
- 21-year-old fears loss of sponsors as he targets a return to action later in the season
- On eve of what should have been international debut, promising career hangs in the balance
Rising American motor racing star Jaden Conwright has been forced to withdraw from the start of the 2020 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign, after COVID-19 related travel restrictions denied him entry to the European Union, making it impossible for him to contest this weekend’s curtain-raiser at Austria’s Red Bull Ring.
Following a superb season in the fiercely-disputed, single-make Porsche Carrera Cup Italia in 2019 – belying his rookie status to fight tooth-and-nail for the overall drivers’ title – Conwright was due to step up to the international stage for the first time this year in the pan-European Porsche Supercup with Dinamic Motorsport, the same team with which he sped to nine PCCI podium finishes.
Having similarly turned heads in the inaugural F3 Asian Championship certified by FIA in 2018 – placing inside the top three in the final standings – the 21-year-old Californian looked set to maintain his burgeoning momentum while broadening his experience over the coming months, as the Porsche Supercup stops off at some of the world’s most iconic circuits, from Spa-Francorchamps to Silverstone. Unfortunately, that is now all on-hold.
As soon as the revised championship calendar was confirmed, Conwright made plans to return to Europe from the United States, but found himself turned away by border police at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport while in transit to Italy in mid-June.
Although the driver, team and Porsche Motorsport all produced the necessary information requested by the Dutch authorities, the Fremont, San Francisco Bay Area-born ace was refused entry to the Netherlands on the grounds of his nationality, as he was deemed to be a threat to public security and health inside the EU.
Due to a continuing lack of clarity concerning international flights and entry requirements for US citizens attempting to gain access to the European Union, Conwright has been obliged to forfeit his participation in the Porsche Supercup for the time being, stalling his promising career in its tracks.
The WH Sports protégé is now assessing alternative plans for the 2020 season, but in the current climate, the only viable options appear to be in the US. Should he be unable to join the Porsche Supercup, he fears losing some of the sponsors who had committed to partnering him in his new challenge. He is hoping to be able to contest a reduced schedule if travel restrictions ease or entry requirements for US citizens coming into the EU are relaxed.
Jaden Conwright said:
“As the result of travel restrictions regarding COVID-19, I unfortunately have to announce that I won’t be starting the 2020 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign this weekend in Austria. Hopefully, once the travel difficulties between the USA and the EU begin to smooth out, I’ll be able to join Dinamic Motorsport later on. After a strong season in the 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup Italia, 2020 was looking to be another mega year, competing in an international championship together for the first time.
“This pandemic has hurt the world and its people in many ways, and I’m hoping that we can once again unify together soon. I have to thank everyone from Dinamic Motorsport, Porsche Motorsport and the FIA for all their hard work these past two weeks in trying to help me gain entry to the EU, but with the current restrictions implemented, it was unfortunately not possible. We’ll re-evaluate career paths and opportunities for 2020 at my end and hopefully have some positive news in the coming weeks. Thank you to everyone for the continued support.”
Giacomo Sgarbossa, Athlete Representative, WH Sports, said:
“It is with great regret that, due to the current complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Jaden will not be starting the 2020 Porsche Supercup championship this weekend. We remain hopeful that he will be able to enter a number of events with Dinamic Motorsport at a later date, once international travel for US citizens becomes more manageable.
“2020 was poised to be a big year in Jaden’s career following an impressive debut in GT racing last season. He and the team have a wonderful relationship, and neither party left anything on the table with regard to preparations for the forthcoming campaign.
“The pandemic has clearly had a huge impact on the world and, with motorsport by its very nature consisting of so many international events, it has caused many drivers a lot of difficulties. Together with Dinamic Motorsport, Porsche Motorsport and the FIA, we did everything we could to help Jaden to gain entry to the EU but with the current restrictions in-place, it was simply not possible.
“The past two weeks have been very intense for Jaden, however we will be regrouping and making every effort to ensure his promising career continues to move forward and his talent and potential are realised at the very highest level in the sport.”