Port Elizabeth’s racing faithful can look forward to the sound of powerful engines, the scent of race fuel and the squeal of rubber as epic racing returns to the newly resurfaced Aldo Scribante Race Track when the Mopar South African Endurance Series comes to town Saturday 11 August. The fourth round of the series will play out alongside a full program of regular Algoa Motor Sport Club Eastern Province Regional and Club race action in what promises to be yet another great day of racing.
The four-hour Nelson Mandela Bay SAEC 500 will see some of the fastest cars racing in South Africa chasing glory, but will any of them come anywhere near Tony Martin’s fastest-ever 55-second all-time Aldo Scribante lap record aboard his Formula Atlantic Maurer-Mazda back in the day? Tony is one of the star 500 entries aboard his self-hewn Backdraft-Lexus Cobra and while that GT5 machine will be quick, it will be the frontrunners that will come closest to his mark.
Not least among those will be championship leaders Nick Adcock and Dane Michael Jensen’s Ligier JS53-Honda and the super-quick Ginetta-Corvette V8 in the hands of Gavin Cronje and Simon Murray. Another mighty entry is Franco Scribante and Andre Bezuidenhout’s 1972 Chevron B26 Suzuki V8 — powered by an engine that is basically two Suzuki Hyabusa superbike engines joined at the hip.
Young gun Stuart White and the experienced Stephen Young’s Fantastic Racing Dallara-Renault should also take well to Aldo’s slick new tarmac and one can never ignore the consistent Fritz Kleynhans and James Forbes’ Comenius Ligier, JS53 EVO Honda. The newly resurfaced track could well play into the quickest cars’ hands – there is no longer an urgent need to conserve tyres above all else, so the pace should be pretty brisk up front.
And it’s not just the sports cars that are out to win — the GTs are also out to pass the chequers first, never mind that dad and son duo Marcel and Dayne Angel’s Ferrari 458 GT3 arrives in PE just a point off the overall championship lead, so it’s all to play for. They have to first deal with Charl Arangies Kishoor Pitamber’s similar Ferrari 458 GT3, never mind a GT4 Ginetta for Sarel van der Merwe and Greg Mills and fleet of GT5 Backdraft Lexus Cobras for the likes of Tony Martin/Mike Mcloughlin, Brian Martin/Trevor Graham and privateers Mike Schmidt and Bruce Avern-Taplin.
There’s another keen battle for smaller sportscar honours where Hennie Trollip and Clinton Thorne’s Toyota turbo-powered Lotus Seven Replica takes on Eric Salomon and Dave Sinclair’s Lotus 23-like ELF Toyota and the nimble Nash MVW3 Volkswagens of Dean and Steve Venter and Peter Schmidt-Loffler.
Endurance races always deliver great variety and intrigue and Bradley Scorer and Theo Van Vuuren’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta is the tin-top racer to beat, but those two are also out to defend their slender Index of Performance championship lead over the Angel Ferrari, Adcock/Jensen’s Ligier and the Martin/Graham Backdraft. Should all make for a wonderful evening’s entertainment!
There is of course far more four-wheeled race action leading up to the 500 and another Aldo attraction is bound to be the ISP and EP Sports & GT Car races, where upcountry visitors like Harry Arangies’ Ferrari 360 and Sun Moodley’s Porsche 911 are set to join the local regulars including Gary Marais’ Nardini, Kean Barnard, Alwyn Kretzmann and Anton Ehlers’ Lotus 7s, Tanya Watts’ wild Subaru and Jeandre Marais’ quick Golf.
Another highlight will be the EP Regional Saloon races, where Nick Davidson and Celso Scribante will be at it again up front aboard their ex-factory Audi S4s with Class B quartet, Kevin Kelly’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, Ian Riddle’s BMW 335i and two indecently quick Volkswagens; Greg Oosthuizen’s Polo and Deon Slabbert’s Golf snapping at their heels.
Expect a midfield Saloon war to wage between Class C BMW trio James Mattison, Fred Balinger and Marais Ellis, George Van Baalen’s Golf and Gordon Nolan and Rufus Neethling’s Class D Polos. Class F is always an entertaining dice, so expect action between Neil Roos’ Polo and Daniel Bright in a Golf up front, with Derik Gouws’s BMW, Fanie Aucamp’s Jetta, Johan Nel’s Polo and Golf trio Ryan Britton, Vernon Young, Steven Phillips weighing in on the action too.
The AMSC EP Historics & Pre-’90 Saloons Coastal Challenge will see an assorted and entertaining grid with Johan Barnard’s rapid Kadett and Rane Berry’s tuneful Skyline up front ahead of a busy midfield pack including Historic frontrunner Shaun Rudolph, Neil van Eyck and Ronald Scott’s Ford Escorts, Deon Gouws and Joel Steenekamp’s Kadetts, Ian Thompson and Gordon Bennett’s Opel Rekords and Alistair Mew’s Mazda. Historic duo Loren Sampson’s Datsun SSS and Tom Flynn’s Cortina; Paul Griffin and Mark Schulpfort’s Alfa Romeos and Francis Cusens Fiat are also certain to entertain in towards the back.
Aldo Scribante’s Street & Fine Cars are another certain source of racing entertainment, with Corne Botes’ Ballade, Rane Berry, Brad Carver and Riaan Van Huyssteen’s Golf and Andrew Greenland’s Datsun 1200 taking on Stephan Aucamp (Jetta), Robin Venter (Conquest) and Chris van der Walt (Mini) in the dice for those trophies.