MUNICH, Germany – The 2020 DTM season grid will include two BMW works drivers from South Africa: Sheldon van der Linde and Jonathan Aberdein. The BMW brand has a long history in South Africa and the German automaker says each has been a BMW fan since childhood.
The 2020 DTM season will start in August at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) with Van der Linde and Jonathan Aberdein on the grid.
It will be Van der Linde’s second season in a BMW M4 DTM but the first for Aberdein.
The BMW brand has a long history with South Africa: its first plant outside Germany opened in South Africa in 1973 and since then more than a million BMW 3 Series have been assembled near Johannesburg.
Today, directly or indirectly, the brand employs more than 40 000 people in the currently politically troubled African country.
BMW also created the BMW 530 MLE in 1976, widely seen as an early step for BMW Motorsport. A racing version of the car won the SA Modified series three times in a row and went on to become the world’s most successful 5 Series on a track.
The Rosslyn plant was in 2018 converted, with a big investment, to produce the BMW X3.
BMW SA also had a special role in the motorsport history of BMW: Nelson Piquet (BRA) won the World championship title in the final Formula 1 race of the 1983 season at Johannesburg’s Kyalami F1 circuit – the first F1 title for BMW and the first for a car with a turbo engine.
Kyalami is also the place with which Van der Linde associates his first memories of BMW. He comes from a family of racing drivers: his father Shaun used to drive BMWs on the Touring Car scene.
‘DAD MY EXAMPLE’
“I grew up next to the track from four years old, watching my dad race in a BMW. That’s my first memory of BMW and why I always wanted to become a BMW driver one day.
”My dad was my example.”
That goal was achieved in 2019 season when he joined the BMW squad of works drivers.