MOTORSPORT NEWS Track Racing

Investchem Formula 1600 set for serious competition at Kyalami

Round two of the national Investchem Formula 1600 championship will take place as part of the Extreme Festival at Kyalami on Saturday, 22 April. With the first two races completed, Julian van der Watt (42 – Race Driver SA) has stepped up as the early leader, having claimed both of the chequered flags.

Brad Benningfield

With a four-point deficit, Stuart White (8 – Fantastic Racing) has a bit of work to do for this second round to ensure Van der Watt doesn’t get to romp away with the lead. White’s pace at Killarney should help him in this task, as he was the quickest man out on track in round one during the races.

Third place in the championship Alex Gillespie (50 – ERP Trucking Components) started his motorsport season well, scoring two convincing third-place race finishes at round one. He can’t afford to slack at all going forward though, as his rivals added to their tally with bonus points for pole position qualifying (Van der Watt) and fastest lap (White). Some additional pace at Kyalami will help Gillespie close the gap to the leading pair a little more convincingly.

Round two should provide an opportunity to watch the battle unfold in the Investchem Formula 1600 Class B class. Here Ian Schofield (10 – Investchem) is the leader after round one – but he’s under threat from the Flippen Fast Females of single-seater racing. Donny Lamola (24 – Investchem / First Race) and Paige Lindenberg (23 – Investchem / First Race) fit this description and are currently second and third behind Schofield.

Kyalami could see a showdown between the three, especially if Lindenberg and Lamola team up on track – causing Schofield to have to deal with defending against them and potentially losing momentum. There is also the possibility that Allen Meyer (15), who was sidelined in Cape Town by clutch problems, can turn the tables on all three in Johannesburg.

Back in Class A, the Johannesburg event will be the second outing in the Investchem Formula 1600 series for 14-year old Cameron O’ Connor (93 – Repro Supplies / Racing Factors). O’ Connor had a good debut in the Cape and enters round two in seventh spot overall, having scored points in both races.

Then there’s the battle that started in the Western Cape between Dean Venter (77 – Desco SA / Manitou Group), Joshua Dolinschek (117 – Makita Power Tools) and Brad Beningfield (46 – General Energy Systems). This trio of Investchem Formula 1600 racers battled for fourth place in round one and the Kyalami event could turn into a continuation of this fight as the three jostle for dominance in this personal race during the larger championship fight.

Round two of the Investchem Formula 1600 will be only the second time that these single-seater race cars have competed on the revamped Kyalami circuit. For a driver-focused series, the opportunity to compete on a driver-focused track with a heritage for open-wheel racing – and a former host of Formula One events – the second round of the 2017 season is going to be an early highlight.

Killarney was the first time that the updated Investchem Formula 1600 cars appeared in competition on track. The addition of the wings and the introduction of a new tyre proved successful and have set the tone for the new year – with competitors keen to get their share of the prize money up for grabs this season.

With round one a thorough shakedown for the Investchem Formula 1600 competitors, round two should see them step things up a notch and produce even more exciting competition at Kyalami.