A MORISSET teenager has described the heart-thumping thrill of piloting racing cars around the track as part of the Aussie Driver Search.
Jacob Van Der Linden, 18, progressed to the final rounds of the Sydney 2018 event in December.
Aussie Driver Search allows motorsport enthusiasts to drive real racing cars on proper circuits while pro drivers determine if the hopefuls have what it takes.
The competition aims to identify potential racing car drivers of the future, and to help fund their racing dream.
Van Der Linden said progressing deep into the competition “ahead of a couple of hundred people” was something he’d be able to tell his children about.
“There’s nothing that gives you an adrenaline rush like it,” he said of driving at full throttle on a race track.
Participants pay an entry fee of $1,750 in the amateur section of the competition. There are also rookie, GT and Pro sections.
Van Der Linden’s first drive on the Wakefield Park Raceway was in a Nissan Pulsar.
Competitors took to the track for solo qualifying sessions with an experienced professional racing car driver in the passenger seat.
Their role was to provide instructions and assess each driver on a criteria including speed, car control, technique and mechanical sympathy.
“The co-driver was talking me through the circuit and when I finished the three-laps he said ‘You’ve done really well’,” Van Der Linden said.
“My next session was in a Toyota 86 Series, and I was more familiar with that,” he said.
He reached a speed of 200kph into the first corner.
“My co-driver was loving it. It wasn’t my 100 per cent. Obviously I didn’t want to crash the car, but I got to push the car to near its limits.”
Afterwards, Van Der Linden learned that he was one of 10 drivers chosen to compete in the next round in December, when lap times would be recorded.
When Van Der Linden began his session – the last of the day – V8 utes had entered the track, so his lap times could not be considered because of the circuit traffic.
Van Der Linden works as a real estate agent for LJ Hooker, Morisset.
But don’t expect to see him replicating his racing circuit methods when driving around local streets in his Honda Civic.
“No. Growing up on race tracks and around racing you gain a respect for keeping it off the street,” he said.