Full race program set to thrill this Saturday
While many may consider the national championship races to be the drawcard at Saturday 22 April’s Kyalami Motorsport Festival, other race fans may well see the supporting bill as the highlight of the day at the Grand Prix Circuit. Of course the Sasol GTCs, Engen Volkswagen Cup, Investchem Formula Fords and G&H Extreme Supercars will indeed thrill, but as they say, that is definitely not all…
Three other races on the day will each guarantee its own action with the thunder of the V8s, the speed of the sports cars and the spectacle of the Legends classics set to make many a Kyalami race fan’s day one to remember…
Among the Kyalami highlights is the rebirth of among South Africa’s most popular motorsport brands as the spectacular V8 Supercars return to the fold complete with a mix of the old and the new, spiced up by the arrival of two most exciting young guns clearly set to add to the excitement.
The SAMCAR V8 Supercars have seamlessly produced a brilliant blend of speed, power, excitement and spectacular action over an incredible 30 years of racing that some will always say provided the best entertainment on four wheels and 2017 promises to be no different with fifteen thundering V8 Supercars back on the Kyalami grid.
Headed by father and son team Ben Morgenrood senior and junior as well as two generations of the Wilfords in Larry and Terry, add veterans Franco di Matteo, Mackie Adlem and Johnny Eekhout and lady stars Clare Vale and Lonica Martens alongside newcomers Thomas Reib (ex Shelby), Auke Compaan (ex Super Saloons), Rudi Jacobs and Izak Spies, and you are assured of a great V8 Supercar spectacle.
Perhaps the most exciting V8 Supercar prospects are the young guns and based on Lonica Martens and Ben Morgenrood Junior’s recent performances, these two promise great things. Triple SA Legends champion Lonika started racing karts at 5 and twice stood on the US Legend World Final podium before taking over her dad’s V8 Supercar this year to win races, score pole positions and break lap records and prove herself a racing force to be reckoned with at just 17.
Ben Junior is another great prospect whose background needs no introduction and he’s currently tied in second in the 2017 V8 Supercar title chase with young Martens. With his dad as mentor, rest assured that Benjamin will grow within series, and that the V8 Supercar rolling thunder will be a Kyalami highlight this Saturday.
Sharing the V8 grid with the Supercars, the Cape-based V8 Masters are certain to add to the spectacle. They may look like Mustangs, but these cars were entirely conceived, designed and developed by late, great Cape racing guru Owen Ashley and his team at Killarney, where they mostly race, but they also love to travel to Kyalami where they once again race on Saturday.
Expect regular Gold Class frontrunners, Richard Schreuder, Marcel Angel, Fabio Tafani, Franco Donadio, Brian Evans and Charles Arton to trouble the back end of the Supercar grid, while the likes of Carl Nel, Gary Fourie, Rob Warrington, Mike Brooks, Mark Ridgway, Jerome Sornicle and Rene Dalais will entertain in their Silver and Bronze class tussles.
SPORTS CAR COMEBACK
Prototype sports cars have been a Kyalami staple for many a year — one needs look no further than the circuit’s great 9-hour history to understand that, but the circuit has also often played host to many different sports car sprint races over the years. Saturday’s Sports Car races will prove something a little different for contemporary race fans with a varied grid of prototype machinery vying for honours.
Expect Jason Campos’ V8-powered Campos Shelby Can Am to tussle with Fritz Kleynhans’ Comenius Ligier and Trevor Frost’s LMP2 up front, but the biggest dice should be among the tribe of regular V6-powered Shelby Can Ams, where Brian Algar will take on the five Fantastic Racing examples of Wayne Jardine, Doug MacDonald, Mark Lauth, Michael Jensen and Ian Smith’s 2-litre turbo version, as well as Andrew Strike and Alister Brown’s respective Strike 1 and NAC Shelbys.
The two-litre class should also be of much interest — Nash Motorsport has entered a trio of cars in a pair of its own Nash MVWs for Steve Venter and a second driver to be confirmed and James Forbes’ ADR, all of whom will slug it out with Josh Dovey’s Sports 2000 and Norman Witt in a Signkor 7 Replica.
CALLING BACK THE PAST
Of course Kyalami has an incredible story behind it and the appropriately named Legends historic racers will certainly strike a chord with the many who may have been part of the great circuit’s 55-year history in a race that will afford all race fans with grid certain to provide a glimpse of what those great 9-hours really meant.
Peter Bailey’s Ford GT40 is for instance a tribute to the many versions of a car driven by the likes of Ickx, Hailwood and Sutcliffe, chased as always by a trio of Lola T70s driven on Saturday by Rui Campos, Mark Lauth and Mark du Toit on Saturday, but which would have been driven by the likes of Love, Charlton or Serrurier in the 1967 9-hour race — 50 years ago.
Jonathan du Toit’s Chevron recalls the legend of Redman, Watson and Hine, while Shannon Winterstein’s Lotus 23 reflects an era earlier. The Porsches of Keegan Campos, Ricard Schuhardt and George Avvakoumides, Warren Lombard’s Cobra 289 Chad Ten Doeschate’s VPW Spyder, Ishmael Baloyi’s GSM Dart, Terence Tracey’s Ginetta Hillman, Mark van Rooyen’s Sunbeam and Franco Resca’s MG will also certainly stir up a story or two from Saturday’s more senior fans too.
Ben Morgenrood even drove in the original 9-hour and his and Thomas Falkiner’s Ford Mustang GTs should evoke memories of Basil van Rooyen and Koos Swanepoel back in the day, while there’s a history lesson of Alfa Romeos entered with Patrick Gearing’s GTA, Francesco Lombardi’s Sprint GT; Trevor, Marc Miller and Roger Houston’s Giulias and Shaun Cabrita’s Giulietta saluting the Italian brand’s great Kyalami heritage too.
Volvo fans will be delighted by Vic Campher’s P1800 and Alan Poulter and Allan Garrows’ Amazons, while Ford’s smaller model legend will be served by Wayne Plitt, Melanie Spurr, Chris Visagie and Chris Carlisle-Kitz - catch it all at Kyalami!
SEE YOU AT KYALAMI!
Saturday’s Kyalami program will also feature the second round of the 2017 South African Sasol GTC, Engen Volkswagen Cup and Investchem Formula 1600 championships, as well as supercar-studded G&H Extreme races. Several exciting entertainment and off-track highlights are also planned between the races to keep race fans entertained throughout what promises to be a great day at the races.
Several hospitality packages are available including a premium offering; full catering facilities are available and you can book 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. If you are away, abroad and cannot make it to Kyalami 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.
See you at Kyalami!