Swiss racer shares his love and pride for South Africa

By Shanaaz Prince
15 June 2014

With family roots in South Africa and despite only living in the country for a few years when he was young, A1 race, Adrian Zaugg is proudly South African and considers our lovely land to be his home away from home.

Inspired by his love for racing and fast cars, A1 Grand Prix racer, Adrian Zaugg is setting his sights on the big prize of hopefully one day racing alongside the likes of Louis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in Formula 1. The 27-year-old, whose mother is originally from Cape Town and father from Switzerland, despite living in Switzerland for most of his life, is unashamed of his South African roots, racing for Team SA in many of his shows around the track. “Although I am living in Switzerland now, I am always proud about South Africa and whether I am racing or on the podium, I proudly display my South African flag. Whenever, I come back here, it’s almost like I’m coming back home,” he says.

'Whenever, I come back here, it’s almost like I’m coming back home'

“When I see my South African flag displayed on my racing car, it’s always an emotional experience for me and even though I am far away, this is sort of my way of staying connected. I’m proud to have the chance to represent such an amazing country and I hope it continues.”

Dressed in jeans and one of his racing tops, Adrian’s love for his job exudes in his excitement as he shows us a few of the Lamborghini’s on the dealership’s floor at Commercial Cars in Bryanston, Johannesburg.

Recently Adrian moved from being renowned only as one of SA’s top motor racing exports but is also now the current Lamborghini Squadra Corse test driver. He flew into South Africa this month as part of the launch for Castrol, globally renowned for being at forefront of incredible feats of human endeavour and engineering. Castrol pulled out all stops in Johannesburg to launch its most technologically advanced and strongest motor oil yet.

“It all started when I first saw Formula 1 on TV. Like most boys, I like the cars and the speed and I guess it’s the action and the speed that drew me to this career,” says an enthusiastic Adrian.

Adrian is proud to represent South Africa through all of his races and wins. PHOTO: Rowyn Lombard Adrian is proud to represent South Africa through all of his races and wins. PHOTO: Rowyn Lombard

“For me, racing is more than just getting into the car or winning, it’s about racing the car to its maximum, perfecting it and when you are competing, it is then when you see the true beauty in what you are doing, everything from throttle application to gear shift, it all absolutely thrills me.”

Adrian recalls first starting his racing career at the age of 19. He was 18-years-old when he got his first carting car and would go carting around at local tracks. Not thinking that this would eventually turn into a career for him, he didn’t take it too seriously until he realised that he had a talent for racing these fast cars. Despite his parents desire for him to pursue a more “serious” career path like being a doctor or a lawyer, he simply laughs it off and says that his sister has already fulfilled that dream by becoming a doctor.

“The moment I stepped into a Formula car, I realised that this was more than just a hobby for me. I felt like a professional, even though I was not earning money way back then,” he reminisces. For the layman, what most of us know about fast cars are the roaring engines, impressive stunts and of course good looking actors and actresses we see gracing our screens in the likes of movies like The Fast and The Furious, but Adrian begs to differ, saying that these action packed films is a far cry from “the real deal”. “I’m really not a fan of The Fast and The Furious films. I really think that these films are too far out. If you know something about racing, you can see that a lot of what is shown in these films are fictional. Yes, it may look exciting but it’s really nothing like that,” he adds.

'Who knows, maybe one day I’ll make my return'

However, there is more to this racer than just a passion for fast cars and racing, Adrian also has a love for beautiful furry friends, particularly his two Alaskan malamute’s, Shanya (3) and Aris (1).  He also enjoys spending some of his free time enjoying the beauty of his surroundings.

“I enjoy spending time with my dogs, they’re really hard to satisfy but make great personal trainers so I take them with me when I go hiking, cycling and exercising, it’s a great way to keep fit. I guess my main hobbies include spending time with them and being in nature,” he says with a smile.

Having achieved so much already at such a young age, Adrian is excited about what the future holds and says that, if he could choose, he would definitely make a return to what he considers to be his home country of South Africa.

Adrian's other passion includes spending time with his two Alaskan malamute’s, Shanya (right) and Aris (left). PHOTO: Rowyn Lombard Adrian's other passion includes spending time with his two Alaskan malamute’s, Shanya (right) and Aris (left). PHOTO: Rowyn Lombard

“I’m excited about this new path that I’ve started with Lamborghini as their official driver and it’s a relationship that I want to develop and hope to gain a lot of success out of. It’s always been a dream of mine and now it’s come true,” he says.

“The entire journey in my racing has been an amazing one and since my A1 days, I’ve always been proud to have the chance to represent South Africa and I hope to continue to do so on an even greater international level with Lamborghini. South Africa will always be my home away from home and who knows, maybe one day I’ll make my return.”

Find Love!