Kelvin van der Linde, right now the hottest South African name in motorsport after convincingly winning the international Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup series in Europe in 2013, has landed a full-time drive in the 2014 ADAC GT Masters championship.
The 17-year-old heir to an illustrious motor-racing name will alternate his school blazer with racing overalls as a member of the Prosperia C Abt Racing team, winners of the 2013 team title and headed by former GT Masters champion and German Touring Car championship driver Christian Abt.
Van der Linde will contest all eight rounds of the series, including four-hour races at famous circuits such as Zandvoort in Holland, and Hockenheim and the Nurburgring in Germany, sharing an Audi R8 LMS Ultra with top young Danish Porsche Cup and GT Masters driver, Nikki Thiim, 24.
Each round consists of Friday practice and qualifying with a race on Saturday and another on Sunday, starting at Oschersleben in Germany from 25-27 April 25, and they'll be racing against top international drivers in 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.
PAYING HIS DUES
Van der Linde's seemingly meteoric rise to prominence in motorsport has actually not happened overnight; he has eight years of national and a year of international competition under his belt, having started kart racing at nine and won the first of his two national karting championships at the age of 12.
In 2011, just 15 years old, he competed for the first time in senior circuit racing and became the youngest-ever class and overall winner of the regional Goldwagen Challenge for production Volkswagens. That same year he finished third in the Volkswagen Cup national championship and was declared Rookie of the Year.
He was already a rising star at the end of 2012 after convincingly winning the Volkswagen Cup one-make series for young Polo racers and succeeding his uncle, Etienne, as the youngest-ever winner of a senior circuit racing national title - and then put himself squarely in the international spotlight by dominating the 2013 the Scirocco R-Cup, a supporting series to the DTM.