Two SA karters make good
Ferrari signs Perel after a decade of hard work, while Motorpark snaps up Aberdein for Germany
TWO very fast South African karters, David Perel and Jonathan Aberdein, both from the Western Cape, have moved another step up in racing ranks.
Wheels has been an avid follower of Cape Town’s Perel, who has thrown everything he has ( and owned) at his dream of becoming a race driver on the Euro circuit.
After a successful season as GT racer with Bonaldi Lamborghini in the Italian GT Cup last year, Ferrari world championship team Kessel Racing has now signed Perel to drive a Ferrari 488 GT3 in the AM category of the Blancpain World GT Endurance Championship for three years.
“Kessel Racing Ferrari and David Perel have just signed a contract that sees David becoming an official Kessel Racing Ferrari race driver beginning with the 2016 season,” a team statement confirmed last Monday.
“The objective of this co- operation is not only to try to win the 2016 Blancpain AM Endurance Championship, but also to build a long- term relationship with Kessel Racing and to assist David to reach his goal of becoming a top professional GT driver.
“Kessel Racing Ferrari was highly impressed by the young South African driver in his recent first test for the team — David’s approach is very professional and even if he doesn’t have long experience in GT Series he’s very fast and consistent. We are most excited and confident to have David driving for us this season.”
Perel, who thoroughly impressed in his maiden GT season for Bonaldi Lamborghini in the Italian GT Cup, is delighted at this chance. “It’s still all pretty surreal,” he admitted. “It’s been 10 years of hard work and there have been many bumps and disappointments along the way, but this really makes it all worthwhile — I think I need to pinch myself to believe it!”
Perel will team up with a pair of gentleman drivers in the fiverace Endurance series that visits the world’s classic circuits Monza, Silverstone, Paul Ricard, Spa Francorchamps ( for the 24hour race) and the Nurburgring grand prix circuit. Perel will also take part in the official series preseason test at Paul Ricard on the French Riviera.
The Blancpain series compris- es two separate Sprint and Endurance series, which races in three classes; Pro, Pro- Am and Am, where Perel will commence his Kessel Racing Ferrari career.
“Because this is my first year in the series I am still a bronze category GT driver,” Perel explains. “That means despite my quick pace, I am still able to compete in the AM class and that will have a positive affect on my team’s overall pace.”
Perel also paid tribute to his former Bonaldi Lamborghini Italian GT Cup team. “It is important that I recognise my previous team, who also offered me a drive this season and I was real- ly keen to continue with them,” Perel said.
“But the offer from Ferrari secures my long- term future as a racing driver, which is quite special. Still, I will forever be thankful for what Bonaldi did for my career and I will carry those memories very proudly.”
David Perel’s story is, however quite inspirational — following a successful local and international karting career, he had a less than thrilling initial step up to the main circuit in various local series. Ever determined, Perel concentrated on his online business, which soon became successful enough to finance an attempt at the racing big time, which he prepared himself intensely for in every respect.
When the opportunity came for Perel to race for Lamborghini in Italy, he took it with both hands, throwing literally everything he had at the effort that saw him and former team- mate Mirko Zanardini win most races of all in that series. Now he has a Ferrari contract in pocket — living proof that everything is possible for those prepared to make the effort to go get it … Having won everything there is to win in South Africa, Aberdein is moving up the ranks a lot faster than Perel. The South African Rotax Max DD2 and double Western Province DD and Senior Rotax Max karting champion next will compete in this season’s German ADAC Formula 4 championship.
“Jonathan Aberdein will drive for Team Motorpark in the 2016 ADAC German Formula 4 championship,” team principal Timo Rumpfkeil confirmed.
Jonathan, son of former top SA race star Chris Aberdein, raced karts under his dad’s watchful eye as he developed as a driver over the past six seasons, culminating not just in last year’s triple title, but also in strong showings in the European Rotax Max championship and World Finals. Aberdein also put in a spectacular performance when he stole sixth overall in a recalcitrant kart in the Rok World Finals.
Aberdein will race against another son of a top racer, Mick Schumacher, son of Michael.
“I am honoured to have the opportunity to race in Formula 4 with Team Motopark in 2016,” Aberdein said.
“The German Formula Four Championship is highly competitive and will give me the ideal platform to advance my career in motorsport.”
“2016 will be a steep learning year for Jonathan,” Motorpark team principal Rumpfkeil pointed out. “He doesn’t know the car or the tracks yet, but he’s a natural talent and we will do our best to support him, so I’m confident that he can break into the top 10 quickly.”
The ADAC German Formula 4 season starts at Oschersleben on April 17.