Two SA karters make good

Fer­rari signs Perel af­ter a decade of hard work, while Mo­tor­park snaps up Aberdein for Ger­many

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING - Aberdein com­ing through

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.

PHOTO: FILE

David Perel.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Jonathan Aberdein.

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