The Van der Linde name will be well-known to most SA racing enthusiasts; the Gauteng-based family has an enviable record in local motorsport, from Grandpa Hennie to brothers Shaun and Etienne to grandson Kelvin. Now, another family member will add his name to the list.
Sheldon van der Linde made history when he became the youngest national champion by winning the VW Polo Cup title in 2014, a feat he repeated in 2015.
Now the 16-year-old heads to Europe to compete in the 2016 Audi Sport TT Cup. Van der Linde was chosen from 125 young racers from 36 nations competing for the 20 available race seats.
The Audi Sport TT Cup features 14 races in Germany, as well as Zandvoort in Holland and the Budapest Grand Prix circuit in Hungary. The Audi TT Coupe racecars are all identically prepared by quattro GmbH in Germany.
The Audi TT weighs 1 125 kg and produces 228 kW from the two-litre TSFI engine. An extra 22 kW is briefly available to aid overtaking with a ‘push-to-pass’ function. In addition the TT race-car features ABS and an electronically variable differential provides optimal traction to the front axle, as well as traction control.
In the inaugural 2015 Audi TT Cup, the average age of the 18 male and female racers was 22,5 years; the youngest driver was the Finn Joonas Lappalainen, at age 17, with the oldest being 25.
The youngest Van der Linde said: “I am extremely excited to start my European motorsport career with Audi Sport in the TT Cup next season; a new challenge, and the perfect opportunity for me to showcase my ability against the best young drivers in Europe, and one step closer to fulfilling my dreams of becoming an Audi Sport factory driver in DTM or the FIA World Endurance Championship one day”.