Profile: Brothers Daniel and Jacques Oosthuizen

Brothers Daniel and Jacques Oosthuizen are two young newcomers who are already challenging the established front-runners in the Shaw Vineyards NSW Production Touring Cars Championship. The young Sydneysiders debuted in the category last year, Daniel completing a partial campaign and Jacques participating in the July round at Sydney Motorsport Park, and the former is now a race winner after a successful meeting last time out at the Western Sydney venue. Fittingly, it was that weekend during which we took time to chat with the Oosthuizens and find out about their motorsport journey to date. Daniel’s and Jacques’ interest in motorsport was stoked by father ‘Roo’, himself a former circuit racer and rally car driver, watching motor racing on television. While they undertook the traditional upbringing of karting, the now 18 year old Jacques admits that he didn’t initially take to the sport. “My Dad full-on got me into the cars,” he explains. “Even when he first got me a go kart I didn’t want to drive it. I’d go out in it but I’d just go slowly and then I’d come back and go home – I just wasn’t interested. “I don’t know why, but suddenly I got really interested and now I just love it.”

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From karting, the brothers participated in a series of track days before Daniel made his race car debut at last year’s opening round at Wakefield Park, a day after completing his OLT. It’s fair to say that putting theory into practice is easier said than done. “Last year was fun because I’d been practicing for about a year in various cars getting ready and then the racing was just completely different from anything I’d ever experienced,” remarks Daniel. “I did my OLT in the bucketing rain at Wakefield and I was one of three cars out there. I was in the Evo we ran last year, which was really quick, and I did my first race start in that car, then I went ‘round. “I felt well-prepared for the race but when the race started I was terrified at that first start, but as soon as the race started, I was fine. Well, after that first lap. “That first lap I was holding on for dear life – it was pretty scary – but it was more that I went into the first turn generously, braking to be safe for the car in front of me, and the next second, voom, voom, voom, everyone’s coming around me! Starting from ninth, Daniel had dropped to twelfth by the end of the opening lap, recovered to eighth, then paid for a dose of inexperience and over-exuberance with a DNF. “I was racing with Cary [Morsink] and Cary just brakes so late. He outbraked me every time and I was getting annoyed at that so then I tried to brake later and then I locked up in the right-rear wheel, and then just spun off straight into the dirt.” The trio – Daniel, Jacques, and ‘Roo’ – now take to each NSW Production Touring Cars round as a “boys’ weekend,” with the former two each having their own Evo to take on the series after sharing a car in a partial campaign last year. Despite the camaraderie, there is also a healthy rival typical of any brothers who are close in age. “We were practicing here about a month ago,” recalls Daniel, “and we were sharing a car. Jacques was faster than me so I went out and I wasn’t happy. I did like three laps, and I got a faster time, and came straight in. “Dad said, ‘Why’d you come in?’, and I said, ‘Because if I try any harder I’m gonna kill myself’ – I was crashing for sure.” Aside from beating each other, Jacques has declared his aim to learn more about the car and his driving while achieving the odd podium finish, while Daniel identified a race win as his aim for 2015… Box ticked – a day after our chat, Daniel took out Race 3 at Sydney Motorsport Park “When I saw the last lap board I was really excited, and when I was coming down the main straight and saw the chequered flag I was ecstatic,” he said post-race. “I was shaking in my chair saying ‘come on! Come on! Let’s go!’” They might not yet have the runs on the board that some of the more established high-flyers in the category have, but these two enthusiastic young Sydneysiders are two drivers to watch in 2015.

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