FORMER Nelson Mandela Bay rally driver Sarel van der Merwe was in the city this week to launch his debut book, titled Super Van & I .
Van der Merwe, who has been involved in motor sport for 45 years, said the idea to write the book had come from his wife and friends, who pressured him into doing it. After he was approached by Steve Smith, co-author of Herschell Gibbs’s book, To The Point, Van der Merwe decided to write the book.
"I’m quite happy with the result now. The book is selling well and that gives me a lot of satisfaction.”
He said he had tried not to make it entirely about motor racing.
"It is an overview of my career. It’s all about my life. It’s also what I’ve experienced in the various places I’ve been to and during apartheid.” There were a number of aspects readers would find interesting, including "a bit of scandal”.
He said he would not settle for writing as a career as one always had to find inspiration to write another book, but he would like to write anecdotes about motor sport.
Van der Merwe, who is a brand ambassador for Volkswagen’s Amarok, said he was still passionate about the sport and was still connected with the motor trade.
"I run the 4X4 competition called the Spirit of Africa and I do appearances for VW.”
He left Port ELizabeth for the Western Cape in 1999 at a time he said the city was facing economic depression. "I’m always happy to come back to PE. I still have friends here.”
Apart from car racing, Van der Merwe enjoys playing golf and visiting game parks. "If I hadn’t been a rally driver, I probably would have become a game ranger,” he said.