VOLKSWAGEN CONTINUES TO INVEST IN THE FUTURE OF MOTORSPORT
• Volkswagen establishes specialized Motorsport Academy to invest in the future of motorsport.
• Racing legend Michael Stephen joins Volkswagen to head up the Academy.
Volkswagen Motorsport is starting 2019 with a bang. Besides announcing the line-up of factory drivers that will represent the motoring giant in the various racing categories as well as the good news that South Arica’s longest running and most successful series will have a new title sponsor in 2019, Volkswagen is also proud to announce the establishment of the pioneering Volkswagen Motorsport Academy.
The Volkswagen Motorsport Academy’s main goal will be to ensure the sustainability of motorsport and especially circuit racing going forward. This is further proof of Volkswagen’s commitment to the South African market and its people. The company has always been a responsible investor in the markets where they are represented, and nowhere else has it been more evident than right here on South African soil.
Over the past three years, the company, through its motorsport division and associated Volkswagen Advanced Driving Academy, has successfully unearthed raw driving talent through an innovative talent-search programme. For 2019, Volkswagen is pleased to announce that they have expanded even more through the establishment of a dedicated Volkswagen Motorsport Academy. The Academy will run a number of courses throughout 2019 that will be commercially available to the broader and upcoming motorsport communities. As a bonus, participants in all the courses will also stand a chance to be selected for a final shootout in November where the winner could end up with a chance to join to the official Volkswagen factory team.
“We are also very pleased to announce that our Motorsport Academy will be headed up by local racing legend and multiple champion in various categories, Michael Stephen,” said Mr. Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport. “Michael comes with great credentials and racing experience and with him as the lead coach, we are certain that participants couldn’t really ask for anything better.”
The multiple South African champion is also upbeat about the new challenge offered by Volkswagen. “Motorsport has given me so much over the years,” said Stephen. “I am very excited to now be able to give something back. South Africa has produced some great drivers over the years and I can’t wait to play a part in finding and developing the next batch,” he concluded.
Volkswagen factory team driver line-up
For Volkswagen Motorsport itself, for 2019 the team will once again have its sights firmly set on both the GTC and GTC2 trophies. Brad Liebenberg will join Adrian Wood in the fleet of all-conquering Golf GTIs in the GTC2 category. “We all know that the GTI is championship winning car. We also know the talent and driving abilities of both Bradley and Adrian, so we hope that we will remain the team to beat in GTC2,” added Rowe. Liebenberg will have backing from Smartcall while the Wood GTI will once again sport Kyocera livery.
Double GTC2 champion Keagan Masters will now make the jump to the premier GTC category where he will join teammate Daniel Rowe in the Volkswagen GTC Jettas. “Keagan has more than earned his drive by dominating the GTC2 category over the last two seasons while Daniel proved to be one of the quickest drivers in the GTC field last year. Between the two of them, we have every reason to believe that we will be extremely competitive during 2019,” concluded Rowe.
Both Volkswagen’s factory teams competing in the Falken Polo Cup and GTC series will be in action during Round One of the 2019 Extreme Festival to be held at the beautiful Dezzi Raceway on the South Coast of KZN over the weekend of 1 and 2 March.
[Issued by Volkswagen Motorsport]