FIA Academy nod for South African teen

12 August 2013

Racing driver Kelvin van der Linde’s outstanding recent form was rewarded with his nomination last week by Motorsport South Africa (MSA) to represent the country at the Africa regional training and selection event of the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) Institute’s Young Driver Excellence Academy.

A total of 25 applicants between the ages of 17 and 23 were considered, with that number being whittled down to a shortlist of five drivers who were then interviewed by a panel which included multiple former South African motor racing champion, and ex-Formula One driver, Ian Scheckter.

‘Unanimous’

MSA CEO Adrian Scholtz, who was a member of the selection panel said in a statement: “The panel was unanimous in its decision that Kelvin would be best placed to represent South Africa at the selection event.

“We are confident that the maturity, confidence, professionalism and humility demonstrated by Kelvin during his interview, in addition to his unquestionable racing ability, will stand him in good stead in his bid to secure a place in the elite Academy.”

Van der Linde, who became the youngest ever South African national circuit racing champion at the age of 16 last year, is currently top of the international Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup standings in Germany after winning three of four races.

‘Thrilled’

Commenting on the Van Der Linde Racing website, he said: “Naturally, I’m thrilled and proud to have been chosen by MSA to represent South Africa at this prestigious and important training and selection event.

“I’d like to thank Motorsport South Africa and the selection panel for putting their trust and confidence in me during the process as well as my family, friends and supporters for their unconditional support in my career so far.”

The training and selection event of the Young Driver Excellence Academy for the Africa region will be hosted and organised on behalf of the FIA Institute by Motorsport South Africa and is to be held at the end of September.

Racing family

Van der Linde comes from a family steeped in South African motorsport, with his grandfather Hennie, father Shaun, and uncle Etienne all being multiple South African champions.

His father, Shaun, won an international BMW Young Driver selection competition at the Nurburgring in Germany in 1993 when he was 19 and went on to win the South African Touring Car Championship for BMW the following year. He also won titles in Formula GTi and production car racing.

His uncle Etienne is a former single-seater star, who won national championships in karting, Formula Vee and Formula GTi in South Africa and in the Formula Opel Euroseries in Europe.

Grandfather Hennie won three national saloon car championships in the 1980s.

Waiting in line behind Kelvin is his younger brother Sheldon, aged 14, who has already twice won national karting titles like Kelvin. Sheldon intends following his brother onto the senior circuit next year when he turns 15 and becomes eligible.

SAinfo reporter