Ferrari. The name evokes emotion. For motorsport enthusiasts, it is the appreciation of a heritage like no other. Just about every F1 Grand Prix since the first one in 1950 has been contested by two red Ferraris. For road car enthusiasts, the name brings envy. Most of them know they will never sit in a Ferrari, drive one or own one. The dream of actually racing one ranks right up there with winning Olympic gold medals or the Oscar for Best Male Actor. [caption id="attachment_2491766" align="aligncenter" width="1198"] Some vehicles and memorabilia at Pablo Clark in the Kyalami Business Park in…
Ferrari. The name evokes emotion.
For motorsport enthusiasts, it is the appreciation of a heritage like no other. Just about every F1 Grand Prix since the first one in 1950 has been contested by two red Ferraris.
For road car enthusiasts, the name brings envy.
Most of them know they will never sit in a Ferrari, drive one or own one. The dream of actually racing one ranks right up there with winning Olympic gold medals or the Oscar for Best Male Actor.
Some vehicles and memorabilia at Pablo Clark in the Kyalami Business Park in Midrand, 5 May 2021. Pablo Clark specialises in the sales, servicing and support of Ferrari road and racing cars. Picture: Michel Bega
NGK Pablo Clark Racing in Kyalami Business Park, Midrand, make such dreams come true. They are South Africa’s leading experts in the servicing and technical preparation of Ferrari race and road cars.
When we visited their workshop, there were 15 Ferraris in the building – 14 of them race cars. And the race cars worked on by Pablo Clark’s technicians get raced – the boss does not approve of competition vehicles being exhibited in museums.
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Which brings us to Pablo Clark who, strictly speaking, does not exist.
He is actually former saloon car racer Paolo Cavalieri, whose on-track exploits between 1980 and 1983 included being the legendary Tony Viana’s team-mate at the BMW factory equipe.
“My father, a Mille Miglia competitor in his time, took me to Kyalami on many occasions, including the South African Grands Prix and the 9-Hour races. We were members of the Sports Car Club, and could therefore watch from the Clubhouse Corner enclosure,” Paolo says.
However, Cavalieri’s parents did not want him to make the transition from spectator to competitor, and the then Wits student had to make a plan.
“Thus I competed under the pseudonym Pablo Clark in honour of the late Jim Clark, whom I had watched winning the SAGP with the beautiful Lotus 49 in the mid- sixties,” Paolo says.
Starting with a Mazda Capella RS Rotary, “Pablo Clark” entered a world of car wars.
At the time, the Group One category was contested by factory supported cars from Sigma (Mazda Capella RS), Alfa Romeo (GTV6) and Ford (Cortina XR6).
Drivers included Sarel van der Merwe, Geoff Mortimer, Nico Bianco, Abel d’Oliveira, Dave Charlton, Tony Viana and Colin Burford, with overseas competitors like Hans Stuck and Vittorio Brambilla joining the fray from time to time.
Pablo Clark switched from Mazda to BMW as Tony Viana’s team mate and later as a privateer, then to a semi-works Alfa GTV6 in 1983.
A Ferrari 430 Scuderia GT3, winner of the Italian GT championship in 2009, is seen among some of the vehicles and memorabilia at Pablo Clark in the Kyalami Business Park in Midrand, 5 May 2021. Pablo Clark specialises in the sales, servicing and support of Ferrari road and racing cars. Picture: Michel Bega
“Thereafter it was time to get serious and a proper day job, so my career in the world of insurance began at the cost of my motor racing,” Cavalieri reflects.
After graduating from Wits with a Batchelor of Commerce degree with Honours in Business Economics he threw himself into his career with great effect. He was formerly the CEO of the Hollard Insurance group and is today Chairman of ITOO Specialist Insurance.
Meanwhile, Pablo Clark Racing was founded 40 years ago as Pablo Clark Racing with Automotive Electronics/Speedocruise
Today the business is called NGK Pablo Clark Racing with their key partners being NGK Spark Plugs, Liqui Moly, ITOO Insurance,, Autozone. Pirelli, Hollard Insurance, AutoTrader, Sun International, Campos Transport and the Ernie Els Foundation our Autism.
“Since 2019 we have occupied premises in Kyalami Business Park, formerly the official Ferrari agent’s showroom and workshop.
“Our focus is Events, Experiences, Racing and Special Projects. The Special Projects include a RestoMod Ferrari we are working on, plus general restoration, fabrication, spray booth and engineering work,” Cavalieri says.
Their Ferrari Experiences include driving a racing Ferrari with a driver coach, or sitting next to pro driver Jaki Scheckter in a racing Ferrari.
Corporate Team Building Events at the premises involve simulator competitions, wheel change pit stops and engine rebuilds. Racing clients are offered an in-house driver coach, plus Scheckter’s expertise for car set-up.
“We also offer clients track support, as a full arrive and drive racing service. NGK Pablo Clark Racing employs 10 technicians full-time and are growing young talent.
“Our clients’ Ferraris compete in South Africa’s series for Extreme Supercars, the Endurance Racing Series and a newly formed series for GT3 vehicles,” Cavalieri says.
In 2019, NGK Pablo Clark Racing entered a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 for the resurrected international Kyalami 9-Hour event. Driven by Kishoor Pitamber, Lee Thompson and Michael Stephen, the car finished as the first all-South African vehicle in the race.
The team also owns the Tony Viana Winfield BMW 745 Group One and WesBank Modified race cars. The vehicles, immaculately restored by Evolution 2, are the only two BMW 745 race cars on earth, making them utterly irreplaceable.
The team will also assist would-be Ferrari buyers with pre-purchase inspections and valuations, parts procurement and restoration projects.