More young racers could start to make their mark in local motor sport as a collaboration between Squadra Corse and Volkswagen Motorsport gets underway.
With a proud 40-year history that has seen Volkswagen investing in racing drivers such as Sarel van der Merwe, Tschops Siphuka, the late Gugu Zulu and recently the likes of Keagan Masters and Jonathan Mogotsi, the partnership with Squadra Corse will make moto rsport more accessible in South Africa.
“As successful as our Driver Search Programme was, Volkswagen Motorsport realised it needed to recruit more young drivers into the field of motor sport. The Driver Search Programme could only offer a driving opportunity to one driver a year and we wanted to expand this”, says Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport.
“This is how the relationship with Squadra Corse came about. By pooling Squadra Corse’s driver database, the Volkswagen Motorsport Academy and Volkswagen’s vehicles, we now have an opportunity to fast track young drivers into motor sport.”
Squadra Corse, which was established in 2012 by Team Principal Mpho Elijah Gumbi, has a vision of achieving success within motor sport by growing the sport to include, but not limited to, young black drivers.
The partnership between Volkswagen Motorsport and Squadra Corse will see Volkswagen Motorsport making two of its Polo GTI racing cars available to the racing team to facilitate the progress of their drivers from karting to national circuit racing and in particular in the very competitive Oettinger Polo Cup. In addition, Volkswagen Motorsport will provide Squadra Corse with funding which will help to keep the team sustainable.
The Squadra Corse model starts off drivers in the karting circuit. The organisation has children as young as five years competing in the karting division and the age groups go up to 18 years of age. Squadra Corse also has drivers competing in the main circuit in the Super Hatch as well as in the national Oettinger Polo Cup with driver’s Nathi Msimanga (16) and Reaobaka Komane (18) who are challenging the championship in the Volkswagen Polo GTI’s.
“Volkswagen Motorsport, through its Motorsport Academy will nurture the young drivers to become competent and successful racing drivers. They will also receive coaching, not only on driving, but on media relations, nutrition as well as fitness,” concluded Rowe.