Duo on track for racing showdown
TWO motorsport enthusiasts will go head-to-head in the final lap of the VW Driver Search competition in Port Elizabeth this weekend as they chase their dreams to race professionally.
Durban’s Raais Asmal, 19, and Talha Moosajee, 21, of Johannesburg, will tomorrow fly to Port Elizabeth where final preparations will be made for Saturday’s showdown.
The duo will share a car, with 2016 Volkswagen Driver Search winner Jonathan Mogotsi in the Port Elizabeth 3-Hour Endurance Race at the Aldo Scribante track.
The overall winner will be announced at the Zwartkops Raceway in Centurion a week later at the last race meeting of the year. The ultimate winner could earn a drive with Volkswagen Motorsport in the 2018 Engen Volkswagen Cup, the same competition that Mogotsi features regularly in.
It was at Zwartkops in Pretoria in late September that Asmal and Moosajee beat off competition from 12 other hopefuls to become the finalists in the competition aimed at unearthing black racers. Both have ambitions beyond the domestic track, with Asmal hopeful of reaching the global Formula One circuit, and Moosajee determined to follow his childhood off-road racing dream of competing in the Dakar Rally.
“From the age of 3 I’ve been racing off-road, four-wheelers and quad track until I started karting at the age of 7,” said Moosajee, who originally hails from Polokwane.
“It has been a lifelong dream to get into something like this.
“If I win I can get into VW Motorsports for 2018, but my absolute goal is to get a sponsor and do the Dakar.
“This is a way for me to show potential sponsors what I can do.”
It isn’t a far-fetched dream. Moosajee is already well greased in motor oil. While studying finance through Unisa he works in the warehouse of the family-run tyre fitment business.
His father, Naeem, is a regular on the cross-country scene where South Africa’s former Dakar champion Giniel de Villiers also races.
To reach his goal, Moosajee has already calculated the cost. “It takes a lot. The estimate cost to do the Dakar with one car and one mechanic is R12 million, and I want to get into it before I turn 25.”
Since reaching the final, Moosajee has stepped up a gear, working six days a week with a personal trainer to improve his fitness and his mental focus.
Asmal also got into racing through the influence of his father, Ismail. The second-year mechanical engineering student at UKZN raced karts as a youngster. He finished fourth nationally in the GP Junior class in 2010, but stopped because of the high costs.
“Karting was getting expensive and I stopped in 2012, but ever since I’ve been looking for a way back into racing. When I heard about this Driver Search I went for it. I don’t want to win just for the sake of winning. I want to impress the judges to race next year, because I see that as a way of one day reaching F1.
“I haven’t had any track time, but I’ve been working on my fitness levels, watching YouTube videos of the race tracks, and playing Gran Turismo (a racing game) to keep focused,” said Asmal, who supports the Ferrari F1 team.
ABOVE: Durban mechanical engineering student Raais Asmal.
RIGHT: Talha Moosajee is one of the finalists for the Volkswagen Driver Search competition which concludes in Port Elizabeth this weekend. His opponent is Raais Asmal of Durban.