Jonathan Mogotsi races to top of his game on the racing car circuit

Jonathan Mogotsi
Jonathan Mogotsi
Image: Supplied

Jonathan Mogotsi has leapt from being an online gamer to a real-life racing car driver.

The young racing car driver from Hammanskraal, near Pretoria, said his father started teaching him how to drive when he was only 10 years old. This fostered his lifelong love of cars and all things fast.

“I was hooked after I attended my first race at Kyalami in the late '90s at the Super Trucks event. The atmosphere, the distinct smell and sonorous sound track was something I’ll never forget.

"I wasn’t able to get onto the track at that point of my life, but I did have access to video games so that’s where I practised, dreamt, and could fantasise about driving any car I wanted!”

Mogotsi, 27,  got an opportunity of a lifetime when he was discovered by Volkswagen in 2016 and was incubated into its Motorsport team.

“When I was still part of the Volkswagen Academy, I'd say training was probably around seven or eight days in total, but despite that having been three years ago, I'm still learning every day. It was great to be a part of a team of people who knew what they were doing and transferring that skill and knowledge to others,” he said.

Mogotsi, who is also a business analyst, uses these skills to analyse his own data after a race to see where he can improve.

Although he is living out a dream he has had since he was 18 years old, he does face some challenges.

“It's difficult to juggle work, racing, training and maintaining some sort of a social life while remembering to drink lots of water. Most challenging though is finding enough budget and time to practise on track as it's very expensive and requires good logistical planning,” said Mogotsi.

He said his ultimate dream is to win the 24-hour Le Mans and to give back to his rural community.

“Giving back to the community is something I'd love not only because racing is more attainable, through initiatives like the Volkswagen Driving Academy, but even more so because I feel the need to stress the importance of taking racing off the streets and into a safe environment,” he said.

Volkswagen is currently holding its latest Motorsport Academy course at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria.

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