With the season set to start at the end of this month, there have been few indications as to the state or format of this year’s national championship offerings.
That is particularly true in the case of the Production Car Championship, which went through deep waters last year, with much confusion being created on social networks.In a nutshell: production car racing will tread water this year, while putting in place a strategy that should see it re-emerge in a much better long-term shape from next year.
The long-term strategy is the introduction of locally built, two-litre turbocharged saloon cars, all on identical chassis.The chassis has been seen last year when Gary Formato drove a V8-powered version, clad in Ford Focus bodywork, at various circuits. Everything is in place to copy the car here after three years of preparation to make it a cost-effective process.
The construction of similar, two-litre engined cars with varied body shapes, is set to start locally within the next two months, with the first running cars set to be tested around June.
At the moment, they are primarily looking at Ford Focus and Audi S4 bodies, but the scope for other shapes is wide. While this reconstruction gets going, the current show will go on, forming part of the popular Extreme Festival Tour.For now, there will be three categories of cars, all racing together and scoring equal championship points.
Class A will be for force-inducted three-litre cars, running with boost restrictions. Class B will see the current Class T cars, running with fewer boost restrictions than before and on wider 18-inch rubberware. Class X will be for production cars constructed post January 2004.
In number terms, there should be four Audis in Class A. There should be two Ford Focus entries, two Golf GTIs, a Chevy Cruze and a Renault Megane in Class T. Class X should provide about six cars, including an Audi S4, two Nissan 300Z models, two Golf GTIs and possibly a Subaru WRX.
As and when the new two-litre cars appear, they will join the show.
Naturally, this is not a perfect solution, but one must occasionally take two steps backwards before embarking on a long run. It is imperative the production car championship be kept alive until it can rise to its rightful place at the top of the local circuit racing calendar again. One would beg enthusiasts for their indulgence this season – and we think the racing might prove pretty entertaining, at that.
The season will start at the Zwartkops Raceway on February 21.