The Sasol GTC Racing Team is raring to hit the track at Killarney in Cape Town next Saturday to get their 2017 championship challenge underway. Gennaro Bonafede and team newcomer Robert Wolk will be in the thick of the action behind the wheel of their BMW GTC racers.
“Sasol is proud to welcome Robert Wolk to the Sasol GTC racing team. Robert has achieved remarkable feats and is a formidable driver on the racing circuit. We wish him and Gennaro all the best in their racing partnership. As you know, the Sasol GTC Championship is now considered to be the premier category of our country’s circuit racing calendar and carries the endorsement of Motorsport South Africa. We look forward to another exciting and successful season and wish all racing teams the best for the season ahead,” said Christopher Kabosha, Senior Manager: Marketing and Public Affairs at Sasol Energy.
The team is working flat out to prepare the cars for the extended nine round season. Over the past three months, the cars have been stripped down to its bare components and each part has been carefully scrutinized, replaced where necessary, and re-assembled into a pair of pristine racing cars ready to do battle.
Team Manager, Vic Maharaj explains what has been going on behind the scenes at his workshop. “The cars have been completely stripped down and every part has been refurbished or replaced as necessary. The shells have been re-painted and look even better than at the launch last year. We spent time at the Sasol Fuels Technology Centre which was a very positive exercise. The cars have better cooling, a little more power and have shed 40kgs.”
“Less weight translates into half a second per lap faster than they ran last year,” Maharaj continued. “The car turns and brakes better and the tyres last longer, which translates into better quality racing for the spectators. Cape Town kick-started our run of success and I am hoping we can pick up where we left off last year.”
Bonafede has a single-minded objective this year; he is chasing championship honours having won five of the last eight races last year. “I am pulling out all the stops and putting a lot of pressure on myself to score loads of points from the very first race. I have a far more strategic approach to this season. The team has found a lot of areas to improve and the cars have shed quite a bit of weight. We need to eradicate the weaknesses we had last year and accelerate our strengths. The fast corners are going to be epic and I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel.”
31-year-old Robert Wolk has been racing since the age of nine, winning nine single-seater championships in Formula Ford and Formula Volkswagen in his 22-year racing career. He spent three years racing a BMW in the production car series in the mid-to late 2000s. Outside of motorsport, Wolk plays golf and enjoys the beach more than the bush, having grown up in East London.
Wolk’s initial impressions of the Sasol racing car were very favourable, “My shakedown and acclimatisation went really well. It’s been several years since I drove a saloon car. I had to get my head around the turbo-charged engine. The car is nice and stable so I can carry a lot of speed into the corner. By the end of my session, I was only a couple of tenths of a second off Gennaro’s time, so I’m very happy with my programme today.”
The Sasol GTC Racing Team will compete in two 40km long races on Saturday, 25 March and welcomes the knowledgeable and enthusiastic Cape race fans to their pit area.
[ISSUED BY SASOL]