All smiles after making it to the top out of 18 contenders, finalists Bryce Pillay (left) and Shaheen Amlay will now battle for overall prize in in the third season of VW’s driver search programme.
Volkswagen Driver Search programme reaches final phase
ON the eve of Round 6 of the Extreme Festival at the Zwartkops Raceway, Volkswagen Motorsport could afford a moment to reflect on their involvement and successes in motorsport, both in the past as well as the future.
For more than two decades, the Volkswagen Cup has thrilled crowds across the country and with the new generation of Polo GTis so evenly matched, it will continue to do so for some time to come.
The VW team also has reason to smile when it comes to the country’s premier circuit racing formula, the Sasol GTC Championship.
The legendary Golf GTi is the defending champion in the GTC2 category and continues to top the points table courtesy of Keagan Masters, and the VW factory driver Daniel Rowe has claimed the most wins in 2018 in the top GTC class from behind the wheel of his Jetta.
A number of possible future champions received the opportunity of a lifetime when the innovative Volkswagen Driver Search Programme ended its first phase at the Zwartkops Raceway.
The programme, which is now in its third season, has already yielded great results. “In fact, Volkswagen is renowned for finding and growing racing talent,” said Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport.
“A number of former Volkswagen Cup drivers have all gone on to become champions and international stars in their own right such as the Van der Linde brothers, Kelvin and Sheldon as well as Jordan Pepper who are all making their mark in the international arena.”
Locally, the young Driver Search Programme has already proved to be a huge success. Season 1 winner Jonathan Mogotsi joined the Volkswagen Cup competition in 2017 and managed to claim victory in his first season.
The fact that Mogotsi is currently one of the frontrunners and championship contenders for 2018 is further testimony of the programme’s success.
“A few days ago, we started with 16 new hopefuls who all had aspirations to follow in Jonathan’s footsteps.
“Today, after a series of tough physical, mental and driving tests, we ended up with our final two,” continued Rowe.
The candidates were thrown into the deep end, but then again, the reward is massive so Volkswagen wanted to make sure that they will get the right person for the job.
The 16 hopefuls were put through a number of challenges over the first two days of the event, which included a series of fitness tests, as well as the first taste of competitive driving at the Zwartkops Raceway.
The programme consisted of other racing-related elements such as lectures on media and sponsorship, sport psychology, and the theory of driving.
The top eight then continued to take on day three, a day filled with competitive driving activities after which the top four were announced.
The four drivers who made it into the next phase were Taahir Moosajee, Terrance Khalo, Bryce Pillay and Shaheen Amlay.
They experienced all the elements of a full racing weekend in front of a live crowd at Zwartkops, where Amlay and Pillay emerged the fastest at the end of the weekend.
“Following further tests later in the year, we will end up with our 2018 winner,” said Rowe.
From this group of eight aspiring race drivers, Shaheen Amlay and Bryce Pillay made it to the final duel in the third season of VW’s Driver Search Programme. The winner hopes to follow in the footsteps of Jonathan Mogotsi, who claimed his first Polo Cup win last year.