Kelvin van der Linde
Kelvin van der Linde is a racing driver from South Africa who achieved the most in the sports car competitions.
He won the German-based ADAC GT Masters two times, in 2014 and 2019, driving an Audi R8 LMS in both occasions. His next big success with Audi was a victory at 24 Hours of Nurburgring in 2017.
Early success in karting competitions
Kelvin van der Linde started his racing career in karting competitions at the age of 8 and two years later won his first national championship title in the Mini Max class. His progress through the ranks was quick and in 2010 van der Linde for the second time became the national champion, this time in Junior ROK class. The same year Kelvin also was a champion in the Northern Regions Championship and runner-up in the Junior Max class of the South African National Championship.
The youngest ever national champion
At the end of 2010 van der Linde left karting and debuted in the Volkswagen Polo Cup Championship, becoming at the age of 14, the youngest-ever to compete in a national circuit event. He finished 3rd in the standings and was named 2011 Rookie of the Year. Kelvin also won the title in the Regional Volkswagen Challenge Championship and was named Driver of the Year, as well as Rookie of the Year.
The following season was even better. The Johannesburg-born became South Africa’s youngest ever national champion at the age of 16 years and 128 days when he won the Engen Volkswagen Polo Cup Championship. Interestingly, the previous record was held by his uncle, Etienne van der Linde, who won the South African National Formula Vee title in 1994.
In 2013 it became clear that Kelvin’s talent outgrew a local framework and he was prepared to make a breakthrough to the international level. At the age of 17, van der Linde became the youngest champion of the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup and became a member of the factory’s junior program. He also became the youngest South African to win any international Championship title.
Breaking the records
His stellar progress continued in 2014 when Kelvin became the ADAC GT Masters champion. Driving an Abt Racing’s Audi R8 LMS Ultra alongside Rene Rast, he scored three race wins and became the youngest ever champion of the highly-competitive series.
The same year van der Linde also raced as a guest in the Blancpain GT Series, for the second time was named Motor Sportsman of the Year by the South African journalists, and also became the youngest ever FIA Young Driver Excellence Academy winner.
Official Audi GT3 driver
After a fantastic season of 2014, Kelvin van der Linde in his first professional season became the official Audi driver. The South African was teamed with Stefan Wackerbauer and they scored one victory. With other two podiums on his account, van der Linde wasn’t able to defend his ADAC GT Masters crown.
Apart from the duties in the ADAC GT Masters, the South African also appeared as a guest in the selected rounds of the Blancpain GT Series and TCR International Series.
The season of 2016 was relatively quiet for the guy who lives i Kempten, Germany. The results in the ADAC GT Masters, where his co-driver was Isaac Tutumlu, were below the expectations as they scored points only once. Van der Linde also raced in the VLN Series and worked on Audi RS3 TCR development.
Winner of Nürburgring 24 hours in 2017
Probably the biggest achievement in Kelvin’s career so far was a victory at 2017 Nurburgring 24 Hours. Driving the Land Motorsport’s Audi R8 LMS alongside Connor De Phillippi, Christopher Mies, and Markus Winkelhock, the South African racer reached the top spot on the podium in one of the classic endurance events what is surely a huge encouragement.
ADAC GT Masters champion in 2019
Van der Linde also continued to race in various championships, including the 24h Series, Blancpain Endurance Series, and Australian GT Championship. In 2018, he finished second in the ADAC GT Masters, sharing Land Motorsport's Audi with his younger brother Sheldon.
In 2019, brother Sheldon moved to the DTM so Kelvin gets a new co-driver in the ADAC GT Masters, sharing the #31 HCB Rutronik Audi with Patric Niederhauser. His second team was Attempto Racing in the Blancpain GT Series and Blancpain GT World Challenge. Kelvin and Patric won the ADAC GT title even before the end of the season, scoring second victory in the penultimate round at Hockenheim and securing enough points for the title.