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Linde for GT Masters champs

2014-02-11 11:34

NEXT UP South African motorsport champ Kelvin Van der Linde will drive in the 2014 Adac GT Masters championship after winning the 2013 VW Scirocco R-Cup championship in Europe. Image: Supplied

PETER BURROUGHES

Johannesburg - Kelvin van der Linde, the hottest South African property in motor racing after convincingly winning the international VW Scirocco R-Cup in Europe in 2013, will take his burgeoning career to the next level with a full-time drive in the 2014 Adac GT Masters championship.

The 17-year-old will again alternate school clothes with racing overalls for another year as a member of the Prosperia C Abt Racing team, winners of the 2013 team title and headed by former Adac GT Masters champion and former German Touring Car championship driver Christian Abt.

BIG LEAGUE

Van der Linde will contest all eight rounds of the series, which features four one-hour races at famous circuits such as Zandvoort in Holland and Germany's Nurburgring and Hockenheimring. He will share driving duties with Danish Porsche Cup and GT Masters driver, Nikki Thiim, 24, in an Audi R8 LMS Ultra. Their competition will include Porsche 911 GT3, BMW Z4 GT3, Chev Camaro GT and Chev Corvette GT3, Ford GT3, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 and Nissan GT-R GT3 racers.

The opening round takes will be over three days at Oschersleben in Germany (April 25-27). Each round will involve Friday practice and qualifying and a race on both Saturday and Sunday.

Linde said: “I am very happy to have secured this driveand that it keeps me in the VW family. It will be another steep learning curve for me after the 2013 Scirocco R-Cup baptism-of-fire. This is taking my motor-racing career to another level and will bring me closer to my long-term objective of competing in DTM.”

He was already a rising star at the end of 2012 after convincingly winning the SA VW Cup one-make series for young Polo racers – at the age of 16 he succeeded his uncle, Etienne, as the youngest winner of a senior circuit racing National championship. He put himself firmly in the international spotlight with his convincing overall victory in the 2013 Scirocco R-Cup, a DTM series support formula.

In 2013 he also won the selection as Africa’s representative in the International Automobile Federation Institute's 2013/14 Young Driver Excellence Academy, where he has the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of previous participants who have gone on to drive in Formula 1 and the World Rally championship.

TOUGH SCHEDULE AHEAD

He will have a busy year juggling his Grade 12 studies at Dainfern College in Johannesburg, the FIA Young Driver programme and the eight rounds of the GT Masters. “I’m up for the challenge. 2013 was a busy year for me with home and school responsibilities here and contesting the Scirocco R-Cup in Europe. I managed quite well.

“I’m living my dream to become a successful professional racing driver but I also realise the value of a good education. It’s not easy but then nothing worthwhile is easy. You have to put in the hard work and be totally dedicated. I feel very privileged to have all these wonderful opportunities and I intend to make the most of them."
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