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SEE | 'How do I make my 9-year old boy become a famous racer? - Reader

2019-09-13 08:00

Janine Van der Post

boy racer

Image: VW Motorsport

If there's one thing parents of little petrolheads want to know, it's how to get their young sprogs into racing.

Wheels24 reader Neo Hlalele wrote in to us and asked a question we receive quite often in our mailbox so Janine Van der Post asked some of South Africa's talented racers to give Neo and his little boy, Bohlokwa, some advice.

Neo Hlalele: How do I make my 9-year-old boy's dream come true? He wants to be famous racer, where do I start to make this a reality for him? 

Clare Vale, V8 Supercar racer, drifter: "Hi Neo and Bohlokwa, I love hearing about young people who want to race! 

"One of the best places for youngsters to get started is in karting. You could chat to your local karting clubs, as they might be able to arrange for your son to have an introductory karting session. Don’t forget that the oval racing clubs also have special karting classes for young children, and many of our top drivers started in oval track racing.

Do you have any advice or tips about karting? Or, do you know a talented young racer. Email us and we'll share your story.

"Believe it or not, gaming is also a good way to hone racing skills, especially if you have a simulator set up to work with your games. Drivers who have to race at a track that’s new to them often spend hours practising on a sim to get their lines right.

"Most famous racing drivers will tell you that having supportive parents was a critical factor in their success, so by asking this question you have already helped your son take his first step towards the chequered flag – good luck to both of you!"

                                                  Clare Vale - Image: Eugene Coetzee

Jonathan Mogotsi, Volkswagen GTI Cup driver: "I would highly recommend starting with go-karting if one can afford it. It is the best the place to start. One can browse Kart.co.za for more information on competition, pricing etc. 

"In addition to the above, another option is to purchase a small simulator for your home. A PS4 with a game like GT Sport with a steering wheel and pedals will do just fine.

"It's not a guarantee to be successful, but it's the best place to start at his age. Good luck!"

Kelvin Van Der Linde, SA racer driving for Audi internationally: "My best piece of advice would be to bring him to the Kyalami 9 hour later in November, show him the racing and let him decide how badly he wants it.

"If it is something he is willing to put blood, sweat and tears in for, then I would recommend taking him to our local Kart shop and make the first important steps in Karting.

"After that, our South African Polo Cup series is a great platform to get going in after Karting, this is the same steps my brother Sheldon and I followed on the way to becoming factory drivers for Audi and BMW."

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Henk Lategan, Toyota SA Gazoo Racing rally driver: "Motorsport can be a really difficult sport to get into and even harder to make a career out of. Especially in South Africa. Most people start young in Karting, but I started relatively late and went straight into rallying at the age of 15."

"My first racing car was a 1300 Toyota Tazz. Your first 'sponsor'will always be someone close to you and most of the time this will be your Dad.

"From there on talent, practice and a bit of luck will have to carry you to hopefully landing a big sponsor. Good luck!"


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