Kelvin signed to race Audi R8 in European GT Masters

TEEN DREAM. The Audi R8 that Kelvin van der Linde will drive in the ADAC GT Masters series.

Johannesburg teenager Kelvin van der Linde, currently South Africa’s hottest property in overseas motorsport, will continue his remarkable career in the European ADAC GT Masters championship this year.

Van der Linde rose to international prominence last season by winning the European Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup Championship overall.

In response, he has been signed to drive an Audi R8 V10 for the Prosperia C Abt team, headed by former German Touring Car Championship driver Christian Abt.

Van der Linde will contest all eight rounds of the series, which features four-hour races at famous circuits like Zandvoort in Holland, plus the Nurburgring and the Hockenheimring in Germany. He will share driving duties with top young Danish driver Nikki Thiim in an Audi R8 LMS Ultra.

Their competition includes Porsche 911 GT3s, BMW Z4 GT3s, Chev Camaro GTs and Chev Corvette GT3s, Ford GT3s, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3s and Nissan GT-R GT3s.

The opening round will take place over three days at Oschersleben in Germany from April 25 to 27. Each round consists of Friday practice and qualifying with a race on Saturday and Sunday.

“I am very happy to have secured this drive with the Prosperia C Abt team,” said Van der Linde.

“I am pleased that it keeps me in the Volkswagen family. It will be another steep learning curve for me after last year’s Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup baptism of fire.

“This is taking my motor racing career to another level and will bring me closer to my longer term objective of competing in the German Touring Car Championship.”

Van der Linde started his racing career at the age of nine in karting and won the first of two national karting championships at the age of 12.

In 2011, at the age of 15, he competed for the first time in senior circuit racing and became the youngest-ever overall winner of the regional Goldwagen Challenge for production Volkswagens.

That same year he finished third in the South African Volkswagen Cup championship and was declared Rookie of the Year.

In 2012 he convincingly won the Engen Volkswagen Polo Cup series.

Then he put himself firmly in the international spotlight with his convincing overall victory in the 2013 Scirocco R-Cup, a support series to the DTM in Europe.

Van der Linde 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 ADAC GT Masters championship.

“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 that is worthwhile is easy. You have to put in the hard work and be totally dedicated.

“I feel privileged to have all these wonderful opportunities and I intend to make the most of them,” the youngster concluded.

– Staff reporter

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