Summarize

SA GT Challenge set for Welkom liftoff

South Africa’s most exciting new race series, the South African GT Challenge kicks off at the Phakisa Freeway in Welkom Saturday 25 February, when a full field of GT racers hits the track for the first time to start the new seven-round series. 

Running in tandem with the SA Endurance Championship, The South African GT Challenge comprises of three classes with GT3 at the top end catering for latest or recent model GT3 racing supercars running to international regulations and Balance of Performance similar to leading international GT3 series. That's backed up by a Challenge class catering for the significant number of eligible lesser-spec GT race cars in the country, as a well as a new GT4 class. 

Although there was a strong entry in place as entries closed Friday, organizers were keeping a few slots open for several possible late entrants, including a new McLaren, Lamborghini and Ferrari hoping to have their new cars in SA in time for the first race.

Topping the confirmed GT3 entry list is reigning South African Endurance champion Simon Murray and his Aeronautica Milatare Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 GT3, set to take on a pair of Ferrari 430 GT3s — Craig Jarvis’ Panacea version and Willem Van der Westhuizen in a new Stradale Motorsport car. Pending ships docking in time, there remains the chance of a Ferrari 458 GT3, a Lamborghini Huracan and a McLaren, or two arriving in Welkom in time to race…

A quartet of Porsche GT3 Cup racers will be among GT Cup entries set to duke it out for top honours in that class, with a pair of Stradale Motorsport Lamborghini Gallardo STs. Jonathan Shenkman’s OCC version and Sam Hammond’s RDC entry making up the Italian challenge set to face off with Big Foot Express duo Sun Moodley and Andrew Culbert, Curvent International’s Nicky Dicks and Werner Link in four of Stuttgart’s finest.

The all-new GT4 class has a few interesting entries, least of all being SA GT Challenge series boss Charl Arangies’ Stradale Motorsport Ford  Mustang FR500 GT4 and Ferrari 360 Challenge duo, Andre van der Merwe and G&H Transport’s Giacomo Giannoccaro.

Saturday’s inaugural races will feature a 12-lap Sprint Saturday morning before a 45-minute Feature, which includes a mandatory pit stop and an optional driver change. All SA GT Challenge races will be live streamed with the class also being the focus of a high-profile media campaign. 

The SA GT Challenge forms part of the new South African Endurance Championship roadshow, with endurance races running on the same days as the GT rounds, starting with Saturday’s Six Hours of the Goldfields. Sounds like a cool reason for a trip to the Free State!