It was a proud moment for South African motorsport this month when Luviwe Sambudla, the 2021 MSA Mini Rok SA National Karting Champion, progressed to race in the WSK series in Italy this year and also secured a podium finish in the WSK Super Master Series.
Vic Maharaj, Motorsport South Africa Sporting Services Manager, says this is a huge achievement for the South African karting community and South African motorsport as a whole. “Luviwe’s achievements in the WSK have been nothing short of remarkable. As one of the first South Africans to compete in this prestigious karting championship, he has not only paved the way for future generations of South African racers but has also made his country proud with his exceptional performances on the track,” he says.
Luviwe (14) who was born in the Eastern Cape town of Mthatha is a highly talented young karter who has been competing in the MSA ROK Cup series in South Africa with his team Squadra Corse, a South African outfit dedicated to schooling South African drivers for the world racing stage. “The MSA Rok Series allowed Luviwe to sharpen his skills before making the move overseas,” says racing entrepreneur, Mpho Gumbi and Luviwe’s manager from ICAN-Management. Gumbi explains that while Squadra Corse works locally to develop and nurture young talent, the jump to international karting is so big that he started ICAN-Management as the big brother to these aspiring young drivers.
Luviwe moved to Portugal in 2022 to race in various of Europe’s premium karting championships which includes the Champions of the Future, WSK and FIA Karting series. He first raced in the OK Junior class where he could develop and learn all these foreign tracks, then in 2023 he moved up to the OK class with Kart Republic.
The WSK series hosts championships in the 60 Mini, OKJ, OK and KZ2 karting divisions and has previously attracted champions like Antonio Giovinazzi and Max Verstappen, two Formula One drivers who are notable champions of this series.
In the final in Cremona, Italy of the WSK Super Series, Luviwe lined up with over thirty drivers in the OK class with Kart Republic. The final ended with Luviwe finishing in an impressive second place and also achieving the fastest lap.
Gumbi says competing overseas is very challenging. “It is so encouraging to see the confidence young Luviwe is exhibiting. I am very proud of what he has achieved. His driving craft is also now calculated and he does not take unnecessary risks. He has always been a race winner, but in my opinion, he is now a complete package who can fight for series wins.”
It is well known that many Formula 1 drivers leveraged their experience in the famously challenging and prestigious international karting championships to grow into their current status. This overseas training and racing experience plays a pivotal role in Luviwe’s skills development protocol.
Maturity, craft and talent development are the focal point of these targeted training programmes and help to prepare the young drivers for qualifying in races, learning to think strategically, passing other drivers in a safe and calculated manner, and ensuring that they start and finish races strong and consistently.
Luviwe credits team manager Mpho and his father as the inspiration for doing well in racing. He also feels that without the support of his parents and four younger sisters, he would not be in his current strong and upwardly-climbing position. His big aspiration though is to perform at the level of other champions of colour such as Lewis Hamilton. He believes that Hamilton’s focus, talent and commitment has paved the way for drivers of colour to break into and excel in motorsports and that he is not alone in his goal to emulate Hamilton’s performance.
Luviwe has become an inspiration to many young South Africans who aspire to pursue a career in motorsport. His story is a testament to the fact that with passion, determination and hard work, anything is possible and MSA hopes he will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in motorsport and thereby inspires the next generation of South African racers to follow in his footsteps. Luviwe is definitely one young champion to watch!
WE CAUGHT UP WITH LUVIWE IN PORTUGAL RECENTLY – LISTEN TO WHAT HE HAS TO SAY
COMPILED ON BEHALF OF MSA BY CATHY FINDLEY PR