Kelvin van der Linde’s stand-out year in motorsport continued with his nomination by Motorsport South Africa to represent his country at the Africa regional training and selection event of the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy.
The FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy is a project by the world controlling body of motorsport to develop young driver talent worldwide. It offers a fully-funded training programme that helps drivers develop their motorsport careers, while increasing safety skills and actively promoting the principles of safety, fairness and responsibility on and off the track.
MSA’s selection of the 17-year-old grade 11 from Dainfern College, Johannesburg student was unanimous and followed a rigorous application process in which 25 applicants, between the ages of 17 and 23, were reduced to a shortlist of five. The shortlisted drivers were interviewed by a panel which included multiple former South African motor racing champion and ex-Formula One driver, Ian Scheckter.
MSA CEO Adrian Scholtz, who was a member of the selection panel, said, “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, the youngest ever South African national circuit racing champion when he won last year’s Volkswagen Cup champion at the age of 16, currently leads the international Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup in Germany after winning three of the four races held so far.
“Naturally, I’m thrilled and proud to have been chosen by MSA to represent South Africa at this prestigious and important training event,” said Van der Linde. “It will make a big difference to my motor racing career if I win a place in the FIA Young Driver Excellence Academy.
“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,” he added.
After an intensive three days of tests and evaluations at the Gerotek Vehicle Testing Facility, near Pretoria, South Africa’s Kelvin Van der Linde has earned selection to the FIA Institute’s 2013/14 Young Driver Excellence Academy.
Van der Linde, 17, won his place on the fully-funded Academy programme after demonstrating his ability not just on the track but also in terms of fitness and understanding of safety and vehicle dynamics.
He now has the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of previous participants in the Academy who have gone on to drive in Formula One and the World Rally Championship.
Van der Linde said: “It’s a big honour for myself, my country and my continent to be able to go out and compete against the elite of the world. It’s a major step and I realise I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me.”
Steve Miller, Chairman of Motorsport South Africa, which hosted the event on behalf of the FIA Institute, added: “It was an honour for Motorsport South Africa to host this event and my thanks go out to the team that have put the event together. Obviously, I’m also delighted that the judges chose Kelvin as the winner but it is clear that all the drivers benefitted from the experience.”