Practice and prep key to master a sport

Sandton-born motorsport driver Keagan Masters says while he may have been “born and raised” on the circuit, his wins are down to pure dedication to practice and preparation.

“I got into motorsport through my father, Wayne Masters, who has been competing in the sport since 1993. He has been my inspiration since I was born. His work ethic and resilience motivate me. My dad always pushes me to my limits, but never lets me get ahead of myself. It’s actually been a dual benefit for me - being out on the track allows me to spend more time with my dad,” says Masters.

Born in March 2000, Masters graduated from Pecanwood College and still lives in his hometown of Hartbeespoort. He started his racing career in 2007 with karting team PCR.

“The biggest leap I made was when I started competing on the national Karting level in 2008, and at that level we were at the track nearly every weekend constantly practising and preparing ourselves for the races. After moving to main circuit after a successful year in Engen Polo Cup 2016, receiving Rookie of the Year and 3rd place in the overall driver championship, I was lucky enough to sign with Volkswagen Motorsport in 2017 to compete in Global Touring Cars 2,” says Masters.

Masters races for Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa in the SA Endurance Series, where he will be racing on Dunlop tyres. The series kicks off in March at the Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria.

“Competing in the highest level of motorsport in South Africa is a major accomplishment for me. I love the competition of the sport, but at the same time it’s a competition or challenge you have with yourself. I am always searching for maximum performance from the car and myself, as these are the factors you consider when you’re out on the circuit. I also really enjoy the technical side of the sport as well,” he says.

While challenging yourself to perform better every time is important, Masters says, it’s the technicians who play one of the most important roles in the sport.

“Most of our time is spent with the technicians. As a team, we are constantly trying to find the best solution for the car and your driving. In this relationship that drivers have with technicians, honesty is key, because you must be open-minded to what your technician is telling you and have trust that they have the knowledge,” he says.

Masters describes his hardest race as the second win at the Mugello Circuit in Tuscany, Italy, with the Porsche Cup Car in 2022, where he recalls Diego Bertinelli right behind him putting pressure throughout the race.

“I couldn’t afford to make any mistakes. My cooling system inside the car wasn’t working, so I was incredibly hot and struggling for oxygen which made it a lot more difficult to drive. It was worth it in the end, but I wouldn’t want to go through that combination of factors again,” he says.

There are always hard races, but then there are good ones, and Masters says one of his most memorable races was his double victory at the Redbull Ring in Austria in 2017.

“It was my first international win in Audi Sport TT Cup, and what made it even more special is that I had my family and friends at the track to experience it all with me,” he says.

During races, Masters focuses on perfecting what he’d practiced in the preparation leading up to the races.

“During practice is where you have to think about where you need to improve the car or your driving. We normally test the car weeks before to find a baseline setup to start the race weekend with. My favourite saying is “let go of perfection, trust the process” because I believe in practice and preparation. On race day, you can only do so much, you must have already put in the work beforehand. For my fitness, I train a lot on the simulator called iRacing, and keep fit at the gym with cardio workouts. Thereafter when it’s time to take to the track, you have to trust the process and use your past experience to focus and perform,” he says.