South African racing prodigy Sheldon van der Linde is ready for the second part of his Audi Sport TT Cup season commencing at the Nurburgring 10-11 September, following a well-earned summer break highlighted by a dream test when the 17-year old was introduced to the Audi R8 LMS GT3 racer as part of his Audi Sport Drivers Academy program at Lausitzring last week.
“I would certainly rate driving the R8 LMS GT3 up as one of my best Academy experiences to date,” Sheldon admitted. “The car is unbelievable to drive – it’s a purpose built race car with pure performance and technology way beyond my expectations.
“It’s a very physical car to drive over a long stint – it keeps you busy every second, which is why fitness and nutrition is such an important focus of the Academy. “Add the extra aerodynamics, braking and general power capabilities of the R8 LMS, which were all very unfamiliar to me coming directly from a TT Cup and it was quite an experience.
“Fortunately our Audi Sport engineers were on hand over the two-day program, which included theory lessons that enabled us to progress very quickly,” van der Linde explained. “I’m really looking forward to our next Academy meeting at the Red Bull Ring in the next few weeks – stay tuned for news on that!”
Sheldon will now refocus on the Audi Sport TT Cup as he prepares for the Nurburgring races, where he won a race on his first visit to that famous circuit. “I’ve enjoyed a well-needed summer break to refocus and prepare for a busy end to the season with 3 race events to go and still lots of work to do. “I hope to carry the momentum from Zandvoort through to Nurburgring and score the necessary points I need to regain the lead in the championship.
“I am already familiar with the circuit, although this time we will race the shorter configuration as opposed to the GP layout earlier this year which will provide a different challenge. “I feel confident and right at home with the TT at the moment and plan to use everything I’ve learnt in the first half of the season to my advantage for the last 3 races – I’m ready!”