There’s now only one more race to go before the end of the 2013 Scirocco R-Cup season. The excitement is at fever pitch ahead of the grand final on the Hockenheimring on 19 October. No less than three drivers are in with a chance of winning the cup title, with the South African Kelvin van der Linde currently on 290 points, Kasper H. Jensen of Denmark on 247 and Jordan Lee Pepper of South Africa on 232. We met these three affable lads to interview them ahead of the season final.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO MOTORSPORT?
Kelvin van der Linde: “It’s something of a family enterprise – my granddad, my dad and my uncle were all or still are racing drivers. Also, I grew up in South Africa, right by the former Formula 1 track at Kyalami. I was involved in the karting scene until 2010, before spending two years in the South African Volkswagen Polo Cup, which I won in 2012. And now here I am.”
Kasper H. Jensen: “My dad does voluntary work within our municipality and gives kids lessons in karting once a week. At some point, I started to go with him. And at the age of 13, I had my first full season of competitive karting. I’ve now been involved in the Scirocco R-Cup since 2012.”
Jordan Lee Pepper: “I used to go to my dad’s amateur races when I was little. I was then given my first kart at the age of four and had my first proper karting season when I was six. I carried on karting until 2011. Then I came third in the South African Volkswagen Polo Cup in 2012, and have been competing in the Scirocco R-Cup since 2013.”
WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS AND WHICH RACING SERIES WILL YOU BE ENTERING IN 2014?
Kelvin van der Linde: “I’d like to be a professional racing driver in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and I’d like to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans one day. Next year, I’m planning to compete in the Porsche Carrera Cup. We are currently in the process of arranging the funding.”
Kasper H. Jensen: “My dream is to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans and to compete in the Le Mans Series. The Porsche Carrera Cup is the next event on my career plan too. Like Kelvin and his team, we’re currently looking at our funding options to be able to enter the event next year.”
Jordan Lee Pepper: “I’m aiming at the WTCC too, but my dream is to compete in the DTM some day. Next year, I’ll be competing in the Scirocco R-Cup again. Regardless of how I ultimately do this season, I plan to have my sights set on the championship right from the start next year.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDOLS?
Kelvin van der Linde: “As far as driving is concerned, mine is Ayrton Senna. He always squeezed every last drop out of himself and his vehicle, and he never gave up. Watching his races or the film that was made about him gives me goosebumps. In terms of an attitude to life, Ari Vatanen is my role model. He’s remained a normal guy and has kept his feet firmly on the ground in spite of all his successes (WRC champion, winner of the Dakar Rally, winner of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, etc.).”
Kasper H. Jensen: “Tom Kristensen is my idol. He has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans an incredible nine times, but is still a normal guy.”
Jordan Lee Pepper: “It’s Ayrton Senna for me too. The way he manoeuvred his car was and still is unique. I’m also a big fan of Kimi Räikkönen. He’s a great driver and I like the fact that he won’t allow himself to be forced to change.”
WHICH RACETRACK ARE YOU MOST FASCINATED BY?
Kelvin van der Linde: “The Red Bull Ring near Salzburg. It’s a great track in a beautiful setting. It’s also where I scored my first victory in the Scirocco R-Cup.”
Kasper H. Jensen: “Oschersleben. It’s a technically challenging circuit with no room for any mistakes. It’s also where I had my first proper victory.”
Jordan Lee Pepper: “In the Scirocco R-Cup, I liked the Red Bull Ring the most too. It’s an excellent and tough track. But as far as I’m concerned, the best racetrack of all is the one at Kyalami. The speeds and the height differences there are one of a kind.”
HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR FREE TIME?
Kelvin van der Linde: “I like to play racing games online on my games console. I also do a lot of mountain biking, because it’s fun and it keeps me in good shape. I also enjoy playing tennis for a good laugh every now and then.”
Kasper H. Jensen: “I can’t make a living as a racing driver yet, so I work as a car mechanic in between races. And in my spare time, I play a lot of football.”
Jordan Lee Pepper: “I live right next door to a golf course, so I play a great deal of golf. I also like to work out.”