MOTORSPORT NEWS Track Racing

Kyalami rolls out the big guns

Saturday promises a show to remember
The Kyalami Motorsport Festival this Saturday 22 April promises Gauteng fans a fun filled and action packed racing day to remember with South Africa’s finest cars and top drivers ready to thrill at the home of local motorsport.

SA’S FINEST DRIVERS READY TO RACE
A trio of national championship circuit races top the Kyalami bill, with the biggest names in racing filling the top Sasol GTC seats where no less than multiple SA tin-top champion Michael Stephen (Engen Audi A3) and the recently dominant Gennaro Bonafede (Sasol BMW 2 Series) are set to be the star attraction.
Their teammates, Simon Moss and Robert Wolk are also certain to be in the fray, but don’t ignore factory Volkswagen Jetta duo of former Polo Cup stars Mathew Hodges and Daniel Rowe, or the privateer BMWs of another multiple SA champion Johan Fourie (EPS Courier) and Michael van Rooyen (RSC) from this equation either.
Sasol GTCs’ growing grid includes the second division GTC2 field, which is rapidly becoming the stomping ground of South Africa’s hottest up and coming racing talent with rising stars, Volkswagen Motorsport Golf GTI duo Keagan Masters and Mandla Mdakane set to do battle with Signature Mini teammates, 2016 Polo Cup champion Christopher Shorter (Champion) and Bradley Liebenberg (Ferodo).
Also of great interest this weekend is the arrival of Dayne Angel’s Autohaus Angel Honda Civic Type R and he should have his hands full with a gang of VW Golf GTIs entered for the likes of Charl Smalberger (iCorp), Devon Piazza Musso, Trevor Bland (TB) and Iain Stevenson (Comsol).
FUTURE HEROES FLAT OUT
All of the above need to keep their eyes on their rear-view mirrors too – South African motorsport has a broad depth of talent, mostly fresh out of karting and fighting for recognition further up the ladder and the twin feeder series of the tin-top Engen Volkswagen Cup and the Investchem Formula 1600 single seaters are both teeming with teenagers hell-bent on rewriting the SA racing rule book – and all of them will be out for Kyalami glory.
The Engen Volkswagen Cup has been delivering SA racing superstars for 22 years now and 2017 is no different with no less than fifteen young guns and seven Masters drivers flat out in identical VW Polo racers. The star-studded Junior grid includes the likes of the more experienced former Legends world champion Devin Robertson (Payen), European Golf Cup champion Jeffrey Kruger (Universal) and wildcard SA Formula 1600 champion Dewald Brummer (Alpine/Campos).
They have their hands full with a bunch of teenagers barely old enough to earn their learner driver’s licences in the form of
former karting world champion Clinton Bezuidenhout (Glyco), Matt Shorter (Moog), Glasfit/Ctrack twins , rookie Benjamin Habig, Darren and Justin Oates, rookie Benjamin Habig and VW Motorsport duo Kuda Vazhure and VW Driver Search winner Jonathan Mogotsi, Shivesh Bissoon (TB) and former rally driver Paulus Franken.
Neither Daniel Duminy (SMD), Giordano Lupini nor Ethan van Heerden (Nutritech) even qualify for learner’s licences yet – all of them are just 16 years old and intent on showing their mettle, but Polo Cup is not just about the kids – those Masters drivers are there to beat the lighties too. Veteran wildcard Lee Thompson (Alpine Motors), the rapid Juan Gerber (Glasfit/Ctrack) Universal Healthcare trio Jano van der Westhuizen, Francois van Tonder and Johan Pretorius; Gary van Heerden (Nutritech) and Simon Need (Photonics) are all in with a shot too.
SINGLE SEATERS SET TO STAR
The new for 2017 wings and slicks Investchem Formula 1600 championship has met with huge interest and great popularity, to set itself up as an excellent alternative to future South African racing stars more interested in the single seater route to stardom. F1600 is another race that South African fans will be watching closely with the dice up front bound to show the way forward.
Cape driver Julian van der Watt (Investchem) opened the season in style with a dominant performance at home last time out, but he’s firmly in the cross hairs of another posse of young guns also fresh out of karts and keen to make an early racing mark, even if some of them are barely fifteen years old, so remember their names.
Stuart White (Fantastic Racing), Cameron O’Connor, Mozambican Karl Pitzer and Liam Pienaar are all out to make a mark on track even though they are still at school. But there’s another group of slightly older lads and ladies just as intent on climbing the racing ladder, so expect Dean Venter (Nash/Desco/Manitou), Alex Gillespie (ERP Trucking), Brad Beningfield (General Energy), Allen Meyer and Andrew Schofield (Investchem) to hold no bars either.
Investchem’s ladies, Paige Lindenberg and Donny Lamola; series boss Ian Schofield and Fantastic Racing’s endurance refugees Nick Adcock, Michael Jensen and Mark Lauth meanwhile bring an air of style and experience to the F1600 grid.
GT CARS ARE THE STARS
The G&H Extreme Supercars head up the Kyalami classes where perhaps the cars will be of the most interest and there, no less than three new supercars that have never been seen on a South African track before, will be ready for battle on Saturday, not least of all Kyalami boss and official lap record holder Toby Venter’s Porsche 911 GTR.
But that’s not all – Marcel Angel’s Autohaus Angel Ferrari 458 GT3 is the first of its kind to race in SA while Drizit Environmental driver Greg Parton will debut his racing Lamborghini Huracan on South African soil. They won’t have it their own way by any means, with reigning Endurance champion Simon Murray (Aeronautica Militiare) and last year’s Kyalami winner Charl Arangies (Stradale) out in a pair of top class GT3 Lamborghini Gallardos and two very quick Ferrari 430s steered by Craig Jarvis (Panacea) and Jonathan du Toit (TAR).
Cape visitor Johan Engelbrecht was right on it at Kyalami last year aboard his Jogajoga Porsche 997, while cousins Franco and Dino Scribante’s similar cars are always a threat and never overlook the wildcard BMWs of Dawie Olivier (G & H) and Jason Campos (Campos Transport) among that lot.
A little further back, Jonathan Shenkman’s Stradale Lamborghini Gallardo and Oliver Dalais’ Marlboro Crane GT replica will do battle with BMW duo, Adrian Dalton (Xtra) and BMW Gianni Giannoccaro (G & H) in Class A, while Class B also sees another delightful mixed bag including Bigfoot Porsche 911 GT3 duo Sun Moodley and Andrew Culbert taking on Nicky Dicks’s Stradale version, Deon du Plessis’ wieldy BPT KTM X-Bow and wild tin-top quartet, Franco di Matteo’s Deltec Batteries Alfa GT; Thouca Mechanicos’ ETL Mercedes-AMG C 55 and BMW duo; Kishoor Pitamber (Siris) and Ricky Giannoccaro (G & H).
Class C sees the Ferrari 360s of Jimmy Giannoccaro (G & H Transport), Andre van der Merwe (Stradale ) and Mark du Toit (Trans Africa Racing) taking on the Porsche trio Werner Link (Stradale 911), Saul Hack (911) and Barry Nel’ s 944 and Pieter Zeelie’ Zeelie Auditors Lotus Exige, while its former karter Kashen Naiker’a Mega Liquors BMW 335i versus Ryan Quan-Chai (Leeson/TAR BMW M Coupe) for Class F.
SEE YOU AT KYALAMI!
Saturday’s Kyalami program will also feature races for V8 Supercars and Mastercars; Sports Cars and Legends Historics.
Several hospitality packages are available including a premium offering; full catering facilities will be operating and several exciting entertainment and off-track highlights planned between the races to keep race fans entertained throughout the day. Tickets are available via the Kyalami Motorsport Festival iTicket link at www.kyalamigrandprixcircuit.com where you will also find full event details, race programs and other event information and if you cannot make it on the day, catch live streaming there too.
There is a full day of practice on Friday with qualifying from 07h20 Saturday morning 22 April before racing starts at 10h20.