17-year old young racing star, Jarrod Waberski is making headlines again, this time for being selected as the first South African to have been selected for the exclusive British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star Programme.
For those in the know, the BRDC is one of the most exclusive clubs in motor racing and is home to the most successful racing drivers from Great Britain and the Commonwealth. The BRDC owns and operates Silverstone Circuit and for many years has run a young driver programme to foster young driver talent.
Adrian Scholtz, CEO of Motorsport South Africa (MSA) says in order to be selected to participate in the programme, the drivers have to be aged 24 and under. From all four-wheel racing disciplines, the Rising Stars represent the BRDC in a wide variety of championships worldwide, and from the races contested while wearing the scheme’s unique ‘blue roundel’ it is hoped the Rising Star will graduate to the ranks of Full membership.
BRDC Rising Stars has a proven track record of selecting only the best of individuals with Lewis Hamilton MBE and George Russell being just two success stories from the Rising Star scheme’s history. Once scouted by a member of the ‘Rising Stars Scouts Panel’, the driver is invited to Silverstone for an informal meeting. Following this meeting, the driver will be invited to become a Rising Star, and providing his or her career continues with upward momentum, the ability to stay on the scheme until the end of the year in which they have their 24th birthday.
“It is no wonder Waberski has been scouted for the programme. He is such a talented young man. Starting off in karting, he has been a multiple karting champion, walking off with regional titles in 2013, 2017 and 2018, and the South African title in 2018. In 2020 he began competing in Formula 1600 Championship South Africa where he once again achieved multiple podiums and race wins,” says Scholtz.
Commented on his inclusion in the programme, Jarrod says he feels so honoured to have been selected in such a prestigious programme, following in the footsteps of so many successful past drivers. “I think it is definitely a great opportunity for me, and I can’t wait to get the year started with everyone at the BRDC,” he says.
This year he will be competing in the GB3 Championship, the premier Single seater series in the United Kingdom. The series is massively competitive with other drivers from F1 academies and F4 champions competing in the series. He says initially it is going to be extremely tough as there are many differences when It comes to competing overseas. “There is a lot to learn, and I find I’m always learning and striving to do better and better! But in pre-season testing we have been very competitive, so hopefully we can have a very successful year,” says Jarrod.
“For these young drivers like Jarrod Waberski competing overseas is often extremely difficult. They are away from home for most of the year and competing at this level takes total commitment, not only from the young drivers but from their families as well. It is also extremely difficult to obtain South African sponsors as they don’t sometimes have the understanding or budgets to leverage the massive marketing opportunities international motorsport has to offer,” says Scholtz.
Jarrod is nevertheless confident that South African drivers can and will shine on the the international stage. “I definitely think we have a strong calibre of drivers in South Africa who are capable of competing globally.” And of course, with that much talent his ultimate dream is to be a F1 world champion! “I’ll be going out there working as hard as I can to achieve that goal!”
PREPARED ON BEHALF OF MSA BY CATHY FINDLEY PR