Behind the wheel: A glimpse into the life of David Perel

David Perel

Racing drivers are born with a dream: to dedicate their lives to a sport that fuels their passion and makes them feel truly alive. While some may shelve their dreams, others remain firmly focused on the ultimate goal: becoming a professional driver. This is the tale of David Perel, a South African driver who, against all odds, has risen to the top of European podiums, overcoming obstacles and surpassing expectations at every turn.

Click here to subscribe to our print edition!

At the age of 19, amidst the glossy photographs of his father’s racing adventures, a spark ignited within a young enthusiast. Little did he know that his simple desire to don a helmet would mark the beginning of a lifelong journey in the realm of motorsport. Fast-scattering ahead through years of playing games and contemplating the possibilities, the epiphany struck: racing had no expiry age.

For our protagonist, the road to racing glory wasn’t paved with gold but rather with grit, determination, and a relentless pursuit of his passion. Money, or rather the lack thereof, posed a significant hurdle.

In his teenage years, David Perel realized a car cost around €2.000, and his dad’s mantra became clear: if this is your passion, you must find a way to fund it. However, securing sponsors was like traversing a labyrinth blindfolded for a shy 16-year-old with networking skills similar to those of a novice.

In his early twenties, David initially pursued his racing dreams but hit a roadblock due to financial constraints. With Plan A sidelined, it was time to pivot to Plan B. Opting for the entrepreneurial route, the South African native embarked on a venture, co-founding a web company with his brother. Fast forward five years to 2014, and David found himself back on the starting grid of his personal race, ready to restart his dreams.

Blessed with a natural talent behind the wheel, David’s standout performance in the 2014 race earned him his debut professional contract with Bonaldi Motorsport. By 2016, Kessel Racing came knocking with an appealing two-year deal. That same year, Dave made the leap to the UK to solidify his racing ambitions, setting his sights on the Blancpain GT Series, European Le Mans Series, and the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. What once seemed like a distant dream had now materialised into his everyday reality.

David Perel is a shining example of how consistency and a dash of stubbornness can make dreams come true. If his racing palmares were not bright enough, he also served as an advisor for Gran Turismo, a movie that perfectly mirrors his journey to glory.

Now, at the ripe age of 39, he openly admits he’d have no regrets if his career drew to a close. Yet, considering his recent victory in the LMGT3 category of the European Le Mans Series at Le Castellet, such thoughts seem distant.

Dave hasn’t let go of his entrepreneurial spirit, even as a racing driver. He’s the mastermind behind The Sim Grid, a venture sparked during the COVID pandemic, offering a platform for professional sim racers to showcase their skills.

Up next on his itinerary are Misano (GT World Challenge) and Imola (ELMS), destinations for a driver who dislikes travelling as much as he relishes tearing up the track.

There are no comments

Add yours