Signature Motorsport, winners of three Engen Volkswagen Cup championships in the last four years, is expanding its team to a five-car effort for their 2016 championship challenge.
The team has recruited three new drivers to join Bradley Liebenberg and Matt Shorter in the familiar Champion and Ferodo-liveried cars, while Payen Gaskets, another global brand under the Federal-Mogul banner, joins the fray on the new Volkswagen Polo-bodied race cars.
The two champions to have won the VW Polo Cup series with Signature Motorsport, Kelvin van der Linde (2012) and Sheldon van der Linde (2014/2015), have gone on to forge successful racing careers in Europe, adding to the team’s reputation as a ladder to success.
Champion will support Matt Shorter and newcomer Keagan Masters, while Ferodo will adorn the cars of Bradley Liebenberg and Jurie Swart. Chris Shorter will fly the Payen flag.
Both Bradley and Chris became first-time Polo Cup winners last season, with Matt knocking on the door of his maiden win during the season.
Meet the Team
Chris Shorter (#33 – Payen Gaskets)
The 19-year old BComm student started racing relatively late, jumping straight into Formula Ford in 2012, where he ended 6th in his maiden season. In 2013, he switched to Formula VW before going the tin-top route in 2014. In 2015, he claimed his maiden pole position, and victory (the first of three) at Port Elizabeth. “My objective is to win the championship this year. I’m delighted to be part of such a professional team who will provide me with the best equipment possible. I’m thrilled to represent Payen on their debut in the sport”.
Jurie Swart (#39 – Ferodo)
The 18-year-old Mechanical Engineering student lives in Cape Town, and started racing karts at the tender age of 5, moving up the ranks to end in the top three in the SA Championship on three occasions. He had a one-off appearance in Polo Cup at Killarney in 2014, ending 7th overall. The #39 race number harks back to his father’s racing career in the Western Cape regional scene. “Signature Motorsport picked me for a reason. They have a great reputation and our expectations are high for each other”.
Bradley Liebenberg (#12 – Ferodo)
The 17-year-old Johannesburg scholar won the final race of the 2015 VW Cup season – his first year in the series – and having tasted the winner’s champagne, wants a lot more of the same in the new racing year. “It’s time to step up to the plate and build a championship campaign based on consistency. I want to carry on where I left off last year. I am going to tackle each race as a separate goal and put my experience from last year to good use”.
Matt Shorter (#11 Champion)
16-year-old Matt starts his second season in the VW Polo Cup; he started his debut year strongly, claiming a fighting second place in rounds two and three, before a series of mechanical issues dropped him down the rankings as the year played out. The Benoni-domiciled racer is looking forward to having his brother in the team. “Chris has more experience than I do, and I can tap into that. Out on the track, I am not the little brother – we are very evenly matched, but Chris has more race-craft. I want to start the season well and get my first win”.
Keagan Masters (#18 – Champion)
The youngest member of the Signature Motorsport team, 15-year-old Keagan attends Pecanwood College where he is in Grade 10. He started racing in 2008, taking the traditional karting route, which brought various titles over the past few years. Talented was obvious from his first year, ending 2nd in the Juniors Championship. He qualified on pole at his firs World karting Championship but was taken out by a rival. In 2014, he won the Nations Karting Cup and ended 4th in the X30 karting series in 2015. He also competed in the Formula Ford Championship last year, ending 3rd in the championship which earned him the Rookie of the Year award. “I want to develop a career in saloon cars and Signature Motorsport is the best team to start out with. I hope to end in the top five of the championship”
The Volkswagen Cup takes place over eight rounds, starting at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria on 19th March.