Third generation Durbanville racer Kai van Zijl’s grandfather Oom Van raced oval track and speedway for many years, while his dad Aldrin is a regular competitor and popular figure at Killarney. Overall WP GTi Challenge champion Aldrin was approached by a friend who wanted to sell his son’s brand new Cadet kart that included everything needed from the kart to a helmet, racing suit, gloves, neck brac to a rib protector and boots.
Aldrin thought it might be something nice for Kai to try out, not for one moment expecting that seven years later, Kai would be winning in both the most competitive WP Regional and SA National championships. Seeing Kai’s will to race and win, Aldrin has set aside his own racing plans and he and Kai took on the extremely challenging and demanding task — it’s a thankless job running a kart as a privateer without significant budgets and backing.
Nonetheless, Aldrin took the free spirited Kai from strength to strength - Kai made his race debut mid 2011 and by the end of the year he was fighting for the WP championship, where he ended up a close second in the championship. Kai stepped up to the primary school Maxterino class in 2013 and ended 6th in the 2014 championship, 5th in 2015 and third in a most competitive class in 2016, when he also raced in the new Mini Max class and ended up second in that club championship too.
2017 is proving a watershed year for Kai as has found winning ways aboard his SAKRA Kosmic in under-13 Mini Max — he ended third in the first karting regional before taking an impressive win at the second round as well as a strong second at the first national in Vereeniging and now the Cape Town kid is looking forward to chase for both the SA national and WP regional championships this year
Approaching his 13th birthday, Kai has strong Christian beliefs and hopes to one day race internationally, but his sights are now firmly set on making his karting career a success. Kai is home schooled through Dots Learning Academy and loves following all forms of motorsport from karting and the local scene to F1 Racing and Moto GP and he also enjoys rugby and cricket.
His favourite car is the Lamborghini Aventador; Ayrton Senna is his racing hero and outside of racing the man he admires most is Nelson Mandela. Kai knows what he wants - his favourite foods are crayfish and sushi and he likes to drink Powerade while bopping to ‘80s music, Christian Rock and Current Pop.
Motorsport Ambition: To race internationally, but right now his sights are set on karting
Races: Currently - Karting Mini Max - under 13 year class
Born: 16 April 2004
Lives: Durbanville, Western Cape
Weight & Height: 1.6m, 44kg
School: Grade 7 - Home Schooled at Dots Learning Academy
Other interests: All forms of Motorsport, F1 Racing, Moto GP, Rugby, Cricket
Favourite car: Lamborghini Aventador
Racing hero: Ayrton Senna
Hero outside of racing: Nelson Mandela
Favourite food: Crayfish, Sushi
Favourite drink: Powerade
Favourite music: 80's, Christian Rock and Current Pop
Favourite Movie/TV show: Ignition GT & Rocky Movie Series, Long Walk to Freedom
Kai van Zijl - Racing CV
2011 - Karting - started racing 50cc Cadets mid year
2012 - Karting - second in WP Cadet championship
2013 - Karting - primary school 60cc Maxterino
2014 - Karting - 6th in WP Maxterino championship
2015 - Karting - 5th in WP Maxterino championship
2016 - Karting - 3rd in WP Maxterino championship
- Karting - 6th in SA national Maxterino championship
- Karting - 2nd in Killarney Mini Max club championship
2017 - Karting - frontrunner in SA national & WP Mini Max