Sheldon van der Linde secures final BMW seat

Sheldon van der Linde will become the first South African driver to compete in the DTM after being names as the sixth member of the BMW line-up for 2019.

The 19-year-old raced in sportscars last season in a range of series across Europe and the USA, taking victory in the GTD Class of the Petit Le Mans, a podium finish in the Spa 24 Hours and ending the ADAC GT Masters season in second spot alongside brother Kelvin.

Van der Linde was one of a number of drivers to sample the BMW M4 DTM during the Young Driver test at Jerez prior to Christmas and takes the place of Augusto Farfus in the BMW line-up.

“The Young Driver Test in the BMW M4 DTM was already a dream come true for me,” he said. “To now have a place in the team for 2019 is incredible. I’m very proud to be continuing a family tradition from my father with such a famous car manufacturer, and one that is also very popular back home – and to be the first South African ever in the DTM. Ultimately, a big thank you to BMW Motorsport for the trust.”

BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt admitted that van der Linde’s performance in the Young Driver Test had been key to him securing the drive.

“Welcome to the BMW Motorsport family, Sheldon van der Linde,” he said. “It is great to have another talented youngster in our team. Sheldon made a fantastic impression at the wheel of the BMW M4 DTM at the Young Driver Test in mid-December. Prior to that, we had been following his career in GT racing very carefully. Sheldon’s speed and versatility make him the perfect addition to our BMW M Motorsport programme. I am confident that he will find his feet very quickly in the DTM.”

Van der Linde will race for BMW Team RBM during the season ahead alongside Philipp Eng and Joel Eriksson, with Bruno Spengler moving over to BMW Team RMG to race with Marco Wittmann and Timo Glock.