ROWE RACING sends Sheldon van der Linde into the first brotherly duel since the DTM was reintroduced in 2000
St. Ingbert, 17 March 2021 – ROWE RACING will start the 2021 DTM season with Sheldon van der Linde, giving the traditional series its first brotherly duel since its reintroduction in 2000. The 21-year-old South African will be up against his brother Kelvin, who is almost three years older and new to the series, for the first time in his third DTM year in the BMW M6 GT3 fielded by ROWE RACING. This will be the first time that the “VDL brothers” have competed against each other in a direct 1:1 duel over an entire season.
Sheldon van der Linde competed as a BMW works driver in the DTM in 2019 and 2020. On his debut, at 19 years and 356 days, he was the second youngest driver and the first South African in the history of the series, which was founded in 1984. In just his fourth race in Zolder, Belgium, Sheldon van der Linde started from pole position for the first time. In the 2020 season, he achieved his first victory at Assen in the Netherlands, again as the first driver from South Africa. He has a total of 36 DTM races to his name so far, in which he also achieved another podium finish, a fastest race lap and 31 lead laps.
Like his brother Kelvin, Johannesburg-born Sheldon van der Linde started his racing career in a kart at the age of six after the two brothers had already been infected with the motorsport virus within the family. Their grandfather Hennie was a successful touring car driver and won numerous titles in South Africa, while their father Shaun celebrated successes in BMW touring cars in his home country and in Europe. Her uncle Etienne also competed in various national and international racing series.
After successes in karting, Sheldon van der Linde moved up to motor racing in 2014 and won the South African Volkswagen Polo Cup at the first attempt. The then 15-year-old thus became the youngest racing driver in South Africa to win a national championship. This record had previously been held by his brother Kelvin, and before that by his uncle Etienne. The following year, Sheldon repeated his overall victory before leaving home and following his brother to Germany. His path led him into GT3 racing via the Audi TT Cup and ADAC TCR Germany back in 2018. He was runner-up in the ADAC GT Masters with his brother and then made the jump to the DTM.
ROWE RACING is competing in the DTM for the first time this year, relying on the proven BMW M6 GT3 with which the team from St. Ingbert has already been very successful for five years. In 2016, ROWE RACING won the 24 Hours of Spa with it, and last year the ADAC 24h Race at the Nürburgring. The BMW M6 GT3 and the team will celebrate their DTM debut on June 19 and 20 in Monza, Italy. The other races will take place at the Norisring (July 3-4), the Lausitzring (July 24-25), Zolder (August 7-8), the Nürburgring (August 21-22), the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria (September 4-5), as well as Assen (September 18-19) and the Hockenheimring (October 2-3). Each of the eight race weekends will feature one race on Saturday and one on Sunday.
Hans-Peter Naundorf, Team Principal ROWE RACING: “We are delighted to be entering our first DTM season with Sheldon van der Linde. We deliberately chose him because, on the one hand, he is still a young driver, but on the other hand, he has already gained a lot of experience in the DTM and has proven his class there. He fits in very well with our ideas for the DTM entry and will help us to implement our concept and achieve the best possible performance. The fact that this will be the first DTM brother duel this millennium is a nice side effect for us. Because I assume that it will be extra motivation for Sheldon to always finish ahead of his big brother.”
Sheldon van der Linde, #31 ROWE RACING BMW M6 GT3: “First of all, I’m really looking forward to continuing to compete in a BMW in the DTM. After two years and many highlights there, my goal is to make the most of the experience I’ve gained. I want to help strengthen both myself and the team. I am very proud to be a part of the ROWE RACING project and thank the team for the trust everyone there has in me. On the other hand, I’m mega happy that Kelvin has now also made it into the DTM. Back then, we both always dreamed of racing in the DTM at some point. The fact that we’ll now really be racing against each other in the world’s biggest touring car series from June onwards is simply incredible.”
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