T he 2018 season-opening Passion for Speed race meeting at the Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria will boast two high octane attractions on Saturday, January 27.
The first will be International historic race cars and motorcycles with drivers and riders from Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, set to race against South Africans with similar vehicles.
Secondly, there will be a challenge race between eight legendary South African drivers in identical 1.2-litre Turbo VW Polo road cars.
The foreign car entries will include McLarens, Lotus, E-Type Jaguars, Lolas, Chevrons, BRMs, Ford Mustangs and Ford GT40s from the 1960s and early 1970s.
These cars will contest the 45-minute South African LeMans/Sebring Tourist Trophy race with a 30-strong field to also include local drivers in Lola T70s, Ferraris, Cobras, Ford GT40s, Ginettas, Shelby Daytonas and a McLaren.
The International Sports Racing Prototype races will see Porsche 917s, big Lola V8s, Chevrons, Lotus, Lancias and Trans-Am V8 models from the early 1970s in action. Some 14 Pre-1966 Legend V8 cars will tackle two races, with Ford Galaxies, Chevrolet Biscaynes, a Chev Nova, Camaros, Studebaker Larks and Ford Mustangs driven by people like Sarel van der Merwe, Jeffrey Kruger, Jonathan du Toit, Lee Thompson, Mark du Toit and Ferdi van Niekerk.
There will also be historic car races for Pre-1966 Little Giants, single seaters up to 1974, Pre 1966 Under two-litre saloon cars and Pre-1974 Classic racing saloons. In all, there should be some 84 separate makes and models. Backing the historic contingent will be races for the G&H Transport Extreme Supercars.
A grid containing an Aston Martin, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches, Lotus and BMWs should set the day’s quickest lap times. v Adding another contemporary twist will be a single race for eight South African circuit racing legends.
Taking to the tarmac in identical 1.2-litre Turbo VW Polo road cars will be Sarel van der Merwe, Michael Briggs, Willie Hepburn, Ben Morgenrood, Chris Aberdein, Deon Joubert, Geoff Mortimer and an as yet unidentified eighth driver, who will only be named on the day of the race.
The cars, supplied by Volkswagen South Africa, will have their keys thrown into a hat, with the competitors to draw their steeds for the weekend. The drivers will get one practice session and one qualifying session on the Friday, plus one race on the Saturday.
As always, the Zwartkops Raceway will have an open pit policy – everybody is invited to visit the pits on foot during the course of the meeting. The circuit’s traditional Mini Moke trains will operate between the pit gates and various spectator areas throughout the day, with all grandstand seating free of charge.
The pit area will contain children’s entertainment, food and drink, plus a large flea market. – Historic Racing Correspondent