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VAN DER LINDE: A Month of Firsts

Kelvin van der Linde reflects on his GT Masters title, looks ahead to Macau, Kyalami…

Photo: Audi

Am I the only one feeling that the 2019 season has pretty much come and gone faster than any of the years before? With only a select few races left this year, I take a look at what has been and what could be in the next few weeks!

Coming off a second ADAC GT Masters title just over one month ago, the feedback has been amazing and the support we received as a team has been unreal. Looking back I still am lost for words how we managed to put together such a successful season in GT Masters.

Ten top four finishes in 14 races is a feat that I never thought was even possible in GT Masters.

I see GT Masters as the hardest sprint series in the world at the moment.

With GT World Challenge Europe moving more and more towards supporting pro-am racing each year, GT Masters still remains as the ultimate test where the best drivers in the world are paired together to try and win the Championship.

Photo: Audi

In such a season, everything needs to be inch perfect, with each mistake costing big points. That is where the team plays a massive role because preparation at the workshop and a proper testing program can make the world of difference.

HCB-Rutronik Racing, as a new team, really delivered. It’s always easy to forget that they did three Macau World Cups as a factory entry before their first GT Masters season. They do know what it takes to operate at the highest level and they proved that from Day 1.

The goal going forward now is to of course defend our Title in 2020.

Looking forward, the month of November could be the most challenging and most exciting yet.

I will make my debut in Macau this year for the FIA GT World Cup and I will race at home for the first time in my international career for the Kyalami 9H.

Photo: Kelvin van der Linde

Macau has been on my radar for as long as I can remember. For any GT driver that wants to compare himself to the best in the world, Macau is where you have to be.

I feel ready for the challenge, I have learnt a lot in the last few seasons with Audi and the opportunity to do it with my GT Masters team, was just a dream scenario which none of us could resist.

Sim prep is underway and a key part of the build up to the race, since we only have two 30-minute sessions before qualifying! One red flag in that time, could cut that running time in half!

I am going in very open minded and as a Macau rookie I only really have something to gain and very little to lose! The underdog role is always a cool place to be!

Photo: Kelvin van der Linde

I fly directly from Macau to Johannesburg for my home race, the Kyalami 9H. I live about 10 km from the track so I will be sleeping in my own bed for race week.

I guess it will be a weird feeling since the last time I woke up in my own bed to go racing was in my Polo Cup days!

The anticipation and hype for the race is extremely high and everyone is doing their bit to ensure the spectators will witness something special.

We also hope to attract a new market to motorsport by incorporating a big music festival with several headline Local and International artists.

The goal for Kyalami is quite clear, I want to win on home soil.

But at the same time, there are five other South Africans with the same idea, including my brother Sheldon driving for BMW Team Schnitzer and funnily enough, his pit box is right next to mine.

I’m going have to have a word with him so that he doesn’t block me at pit exit during the final stop!

Who knows what the next month will bring, all I know for sure is that I am going to have a ball out there.

Kelvin van der Linde (@KelvinvdLinde) is the 2014 ADAC GT Masters champion and 2017 Nürburgring 24 winner, driving for Audi Sport customer racing in various GT3 championships worldwide.

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