The sixth Global Touring Cars season is set to start in Cape Town this coming weekend (March 19-20) and will mark the second occasion that Killarney Internation Raceway will host the opening round.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic resulting in 2020’s visits to the venue being cancelled, this will be a new outing for all but one driver/manufacturer combination in the GTC Championship. Two of the GTC SupaCup entrants competed in the South African Endurance Series season finale of 2020, but it will be the first Cape Town visit for the class as a whole.
Three manufacturers to line up in GTC Championship
Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Michael van Rooyen will start the new season as the most experienced GTC Championship driver with 59 starts to his name. Having switched to Toyota in 2019, he is the only driver to represent the same marque as he did in the last GTC race at the circuit. He holds a 33% start-to-podium conversation rate with two race wins and a best championship finish of runner-up in 2019. He will be a firm favourite to become the new champion but can expect fierce competition from an equally-determined host of rivals. His teammate, Mandla Madakane, will be eager to make his presence known in the sister Toyota Corolla entry. Having graduated from GTC2 to the GTC Championship in 2020, Mdakane’s debut season was hampered by technical issues. He will aim to capitalise on the pace that he has already shown in his two outings and chase his first podium appearance in Cape Town.
The other two Toyota Corollas will be piloted by the Chemical Logistics pair of Robert Wolk and Scott Temple. Wolk is the second-most experienced driver in the filed with 57 starts and four race victories. He is also the only current driver who has won a race at Killarney International Raceway, having done so at the most recent outing. While 2019 saw his best championship result to date with sixth place, there is no question that he will be eager to step to the fore as a championship contender. Temple and Julian van der Watt alternated driving duties for the second car in 2020, however, it will be Temple who will compete in this car for 2021 with an eagerness to impress at only his second GTC race weekend.
Van der Watt will also make his second appearance after finishing on the podium in his debut weekend. Also in the Chemical Logistics line-up, he will be participating in the Ford Focus. Ford is one of two manufacturers returning to the series after the sole 2019 outing. The second of these will be the BMW which will be driven by Universal Racing’s Lee Thompson. Killarney International Raceway will see both the driver and entrant making their debut in the top class. Universal Racing has been involved with GTC2 and the GTC SupaCup since the 2017 season, previously fielding Johan Pretorius, Trevor Bland, Charl Smalberger and Jeffrey Kruger as drivers. Thompson’s two GTC2 outings saw him compete in the Delmon Mining Ford Focus in 2019. Since then, he has taken over as the team’s race engineer and will be making his first outing as a race driver for the team in Cape Town.
Liebenberg out to defend GTC SupaCup title
Brad Liebenberg (Sparco Nathan’s Motorsport) took the inaugural GTC SupaCup title after beating Jeffrey Kruger by one point. This saw him make it three titles from his last three saloon car championship campaigns in two years, having only near-misses to show from his first four years yet eager to add another one in 2021. He is set to have fierce competition from Kruger (Universal Racing) as well as third-place finisher Jonothan Mogotsi (Volkswagen Motorsport). While Liebenberg and Kruger shared the wins and pole positions in 2020, Mogotsi has been edging closer to the duo and will look to take his first win.
The midfield battle often produced good racing with regulars Andre Bezuidenhout (Motul Team Perfect Circle), Shaun Duminy (SMD Exotics), Manogh Maharaj (SMD Exotics), and Johan de Bruyn (OdorCure) all eager to continue their battle. Jason Campos participated in two rounds, with his father Rui Campos competing as a substitute in Port Elizabeth. The new season will see the Turn 1 Insurance Brokers Campos Racing team expanding to a two-car outfit with both father-and-son eager to impress. While Mikael Pitamber does have three starts in 2020 to his name, this will be his first championship outing since taking delivery of his Toys R Us Volkswagen SupaPolo. Pitamber and Bezuidenhout are also the only two GTC SupaCup drivers to have competed in their cars at Killarney International Raceway, having done so in the 2020 South African 9 Hour.
There are a few more series-debutants for 2021. Nick Davidson (Stu Davidson & Sons) has competed in regional races in his Volkswagen SupaPolo, but will be making his first outing in the series at Killarney International Raceway. Dawie Joubert (Wild Rose Gin Rembrandt Racing) and Saood Variawa (SV Safaris/Varia/Mariner) will also be making their debut.
New race weekend format
The opening round, which will form part of the Extreme Festival, will see a change in the form of a longer second race. While Saturday’s opening race will still be a 12-lap sprint, the second race will be run over 30 minutes plus one lap distance. The two races will start at 13:10 and 16:30 respectively.
The resumption of sport in South Africa under the National State of Disaster is still subject to a prohibition on spectator attendance. The event will be streamed online via the Extreme Festival’s Facebook page.
The 2021 South African motorsport season will see the sixth year of the Global Touring Cars (GTC) heading up the national Extreme Festival roster.
With the start of the new season still two months away, GTC is releasing its calendar, entrant information and sponsor news ahead of the new championship year.
The national championship will be decided over seven rounds in four of South Africa’s provinces. For the second time, Killarney International Raceway in Cape Town will host the season opener; having done so before in 2017. Following its 2020 omission from the national tour calendar, Border Motorsport East London Grand Prix Circuit will be making a return to the calendar. Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria, Aldo Scribante Racetrack in Port Elizabeth and Red Star Raceway outside Delmas will make up the balance of the season’s circuits. Killarney International Raceway along with Zwartkops Raceway will be the only circuits to host two national rounds.
The 2021 Global Touring Cars Calendar:
Round 1 – Killarney International Raceway (March 19-20)
Round 2 – Zwartkops Raceway (April 16-17)
Round 3 – Aldo Scribante Racetrack (May 28-29)
Round 4 – Border Motorsport East London Grand Prix Circuit (July 2-3)
Round 5 – Red Star Raceway (July 30-31)
Round 6 – Killarney International Raceway (September 24-25)
Round 7 – Zwartkops Raceway (October 22-23)
While the calendar is confirmed at the time of going to press, changes may be brought on following decisions made by the South African government, Motorsport South Africa, Extreme Festival and any of the hosting venues. At present, there is also no clarity on when spectators will be able to attend sporting events.
The 2021 season will also see three manufacturers being represented on the grid. Toyota Gazoo Racing will be fielding a two-car team for their third season in the series. The Chemical Logistics team will also be fielding two Toyota Corollas. This year will also see BMW and Ford both making a return for the first time since the 2019 season. A full list of drivers will be announced in the lead up to the season opener.
The GTC SupaCup will be lining up for their second season as supporting class. The class, won by Brad Liebenberg in its inaugural season, saw a field of nine purpose-built Volkswagen Polos competing. The class remains open to other manufacturers who would like to get involved.
While GTC is still looking for a title sponsor, the category is pleased to announce that they will continue with Dunlop Tyres South Africa, ATS Motorsport Supplies and SKF as partners.
GTC Director Gary Formato expresses his thoughts as entrants prepare for the new season ahead: “While 2020 was a tough and uncertain year for us all, we are happy to be back and focused for 2021. I would like to thank our management team for all their selfless efforts to keep us at the top of South African motorsport. In 2021 we will strive to improve our image as not just a top-class racing category, but also as a premier marketing platform for our corporate partners. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish our competitors all the best for year ahead. We remain hopeful about welcoming spectators back to motorsport events in 2021 and would therefore also like to ask you to play your part in this at present by adhering to the guidelines laid down by the South African government to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”
Further details regarding the season will be announced on the GTC website www.gtcafrica.co.za as well as their social media channels.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in South Africa, the start of the 2020 GTC Championship and inaugural GTC SupaCup is being suspended.
On Sunday, March 16, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a State of National Disaster due to the increase in infections of the novel Coronavirus. This was followed the following morning by Motorsport South Africa (MSA) and the Extreme Festival suspending all events until after the Easter weekend (April 10-13).
The initial announcement did not directly influence the start of the 2020 season, therefore GTC management did not release a statement at the time. On Friday, March 20, MSA however extended the suspension of events until May 1; a decision that also effected the season opener at the Killarney International Raceway on April 17-18.
“We all realise the importance of taking these necessary steps to stop the spread of the virus, but also did not want to jump the gun on postponements before official announcements from the South African government, the governing body of the sport or the tour promoter,” said GTC Director, Gary Formato regarding the decisions taken by the category. “I have been in contact with various stakeholders and management team members throughout the week and we agreed that the best course of action will be to only postpone once we are directly affected.
“As the situation is being monitored and advised upon regularly by the powers-that-be, we don’t want to provide any concrete dates for now,” said Formato in regards to the category providing a revised season calendar. “At present, South Africa is still in the second phase of the virus spreading; so we don’t want to commit to any dates just yet.”
The GTC Championship would like to request all members of the paddock, as well as motorsport fans to take care and adhere to social distancing guidelines set out by the South African government.
“We want to stress that the battle to curb this starts with every one of us. Reduce your social contact to a minimum and when it is required, be mindful to keep a two-meter distance. Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. We all want to be back as soon as possible and we would like to see all our fans next to the circuit as well. This can only be achieved if we work together,” concluded Formato.
[Issued by GTC]
Global Touring Cars has amended the racing calendar for both the fifth season of the GTC Championship as well as the inaugural GTC Supa Cup for 2020.
Both national championships were scheduled to begin at the season-opening round at Zwartkops Raceway, Pretoria, as part of the March 13-14 Extreme Festival weekend. The new season will now commence at the Killarney International Raceway in Cape Town where it will still form part of Extreme Festival from April 17-18.
Category management has confirmed that the amendment was necessitated due to additional time requirements needed to prepare some of the new cars, which were brought on by time delays in international parts arrivals.
The details of the replacement round – to still be hosted at Zwartkops Raceway – will be communicated once confirmed via official GTC category media channels.
The GTC Management team would like to convey its sincere apologies for the amendment. The decision was taken with the interest of both entrants and category partners in mind, to ensure that full grids are ready to compete in both GTC and GTC Supa Cup classes for the new season.
With the battle for championship supremacy still wide open, the GTC Championship heads this weekend to the fast, shoreline straights of the Border Motorsport East London Grand Prix Circuit as just three rounds remain in 2019
Round 6 of the 2019 season will see Simon Moss and Brad Liebenberg trying to maintain their respective GTC and GTC2 points table advantages as they hit the track for first practice this Friday.
The 3.86km circuit, situated just outside of the East London CBD, is one of South Africa’s oldest motorsport venues despite not being a purpose-built racetrack, and also one the most picturesque. A large portion of the circuit is made up of a section of Molteno Drive which also features the fastest corner in South African racing, Potters Pass. While Cococabana corner is the closest that drivers will get to racing at sea level nationwide, sitting at only 11 metres of elevation and a mere 120 meters away from the beach.
There will however not be much time to take in the scenery with 2019 seeing the closest battle for title honours in the championship’s fourth season. At Round 5, Moss (Moss Racing / Audi / All Power) could only extend his lead to 8 points over Keagen Masters (Volkswagen Motorsport). Moss has celebrated six wins this season to date, while Masters is still out to record his maiden win since stepping up into the top class as reigning GTC2 champion. With both drivers being very equally matched, this weekend could prove to be a high-speed battle for the lead of the championship heading into the final two rounds being held at both Killarney and Red Star raceways.
Daniel Rowe (Volkswagen Motorsport) finds himself a further 11 points adrift in third place, and heads up a trio of drivers only separated by three points; all who regularly produce fierce battles for the midfield honours. Rowe has celebrated a race victory in 2019 and can also not be counted out of the title battle yet. Fourth-placed Johan Fourie (EPS Courier Services BMW) would like to add a third victory to his season tally, especially considering East London is where he took a dominant win during the 2018 season’s inverted grid race.
Like Masters, Michael van Rooyen (Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa) has also been building his championship on consistent results despite no victories. This has been his best season to date and he could well leapfrog the pair ahead into the top-three.
Following his victory in Round 5, Robert Wolk (Chemical Logistics BMW) could also be in contention for third place battle in a strong weekend results. Further back, Tschops Sipuka (Moss Racing / Audi / All Power) would like to put the misfortunes from the previous two rounds behind him; notably after being caught up in accidents during both the reverse-grid races. Niyaaz Modack will be making his second appearance in the WH Auctioneers BMW
In GTC2, Brad Liebenberg (Volkswagen Motorsport) will be eager to reclaim the top step of the podium, especially at East London where he took his maiden class victory during the 2017 season. He finds himself 22 points ahead of Adrian Wood who drives the Kyocera-liveried sister car. Both drivers have been well in control of the first half of the season, but Round 5 saw Charl Smalberger (Universal HealthCare) edge closer to the leaders following his win and second-place finish.
Mandla Mdakane (Transitler MINI John Cooper Works) and Paul Hill (Kalex Volkswagen Golf) have had a host of good on-track tussles in the past few rounds and are separated by five points in the championship. Both drivers have been in solid form of late with Mdakane visiting the podium once in each of the last three rounds while Hill took his maiden victory in Round 5.
Round 6 of the 2019 GTC Championship will be held at East London Grand Prix Circuit from August 30-31. Friday will see three practice sessions taking place to complete setup for the race day ahead. Saturday’s programme will consist of:
09:50 – Qualifying
12:55 – Race 1 (9 Laps)
15:35 – Race 2 (12 laps)
For more information head to www.gtcafrica.co.za
The Aldo Scribante race circuit will play host to Round 4 of the 2019 GTC Championship with Simon Moss and Brad Liebenberg both aiming to retain their positions on top of the respective GTC and GTC2 points table in Port Elizabeth (June 14-15).
The battle for home ground supremacy will be fierce as the Moss Racing / Audi / Allpower team will challenge their championship rivals Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa as their lead drivers will race to retain the top three places in the title fight.
Moss holds a 12-point lead over the Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta duo of Keagan Masters and Daniel Rowe who sit second and third respectively on the points table with only 1-point separating the teammates. Rowe is the latest driver to join the list of 2019 race winners and a repeat performance in front of the Port Elizabeth crowd will strengthen his championship chances. Masters has been delivering a host of strong podium finishes and will also be aiming for his maiden win.
Moss was assisted in his title bid last round in Cape Town following teammate Tschops Sipuka making his car available after Moss experienced technical issues with the #38 Audi. The news from the Moss Racing / Audi / Allpower team is that both cars are ready with the drivers eager to conquer at home.
Another driver who will also be aiming for his maiden race win is Michael van Rooyen, in the #95 Toyota GA300 Racing South Africa Corolla which has proven to be a strong package in 2019. The Rustenburg-based driver trails Moss by only 16-points, and a potential win at Round 4 could see him entering the second half of the season as one of the frontrunners.
Heading up the BMW-charge is Johan Fourie in the EPS Courier Services entry. With already one win in 2019 behind his name, Fourie is looking in good form heading into one of his favourite circuits on the calendar. The Chemical Logistics / WCT Engineering entry of Robbie Wolk has also been making firm inroads with a good display of pace. Rounding out the points table is Daniel Duminy in the SMD Exotics entry.
GTC Championship points after Round 3
|1||38||Simon Moss||Moss Racing ! Audi ! Allpower Team||124|
|2||18||Keagan Masters||Volkswagen Motorsport||112|
|3||89||Daniel Rowe||Volkswagen Motorsport||111|
|4||95||Michael van Rooyen||Toyota GA300 Racing South Africa||108|
|5||14||Johan Fourie||EPS Courier Services||100|
|6||41||Robert Wolk||Chemical Logistics / WCT Engineering||83|
|7||8||Tschops Sipuka||Moss Racing ! Audi ! Allpower Team||60|
|8||42||Daniel Duminy||SMD Exotics||40|
In GTC2, Brad Liebenberg is the strongest competitor so far in 2019, topping the class standings after recording five race wins out of six races in the Volkswagen Motorsport Golf. His closest competition will be teammate Adrian Wood in the Kyocera-liveried sister car. Both drivers enjoy the tight circuit and will be eager to impress at the home of Volkswagen South Africa.
After his win Cape Town, Charl Smalberger finds himself in a strong third position on the points table in the Universal Healthcare / CompCare Volkswagen Golf. While Mandla Mdakane continues to look stronger as the season progresses, having steered the Altron / Nexus MINI John Cooper Works to the podium last round, which was only his fourth start in over a year out of competition. Paul Hill will also aim to continue his upwards curve in the Kalex Volkswagen Polo after his maiden podium visit in Cape Town.
GTC2 Championship points after Round 3
|1||12||Brad Liebenberg||Volkswagen Motorsport||130|
|2||114||Adrian Wood||Volkswagen Motorsport||112|
|3||15||Charl Smalberger||Universal Healthcare / CompCare||104|
|4||61||Bob Neill||Delmon Mining||90|
|5||37||Lee Thompson||Delmon Mining||54|
|6||44||Mandla Mdakane||Altron / Nexus||47|
|7||135||Paul Hill||Kalex Racing||42|
|8||135||Trevor Bland||Kalex Racing||41|
Round 4 of the 2019 GTC Championship at the Aldo Scribante race circuit where Friday will host three practice sessions ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session and two races. Both races will be contested over 12 laps and are scheduled to start at 12:20 and 15:10 respectively. Prior to Race 1, the GTC Fan Grid Walk will be held on the main straight where fans are invited to meet their favourite drivers.
For more information head to www.gtcafrica.co.za
ADRIAN WOOD READIES FOR SECOND GTC2 SEASON FOR KYOCERA
Adrian Wood will be back behind the wheels of his KYOCERA Document Solutions South Africa Volkswagen Golf for the 2019 Global Touring CarsGTC2 season. This was announced by Volkswagen Motorsport_za during their pre-season team launch held at Zwartkops Raceway on Friday, February 2.
2018 was a steep learning curve for Wood, but one in which he excelled to end his debut season with a race win during the final round. The season ahead will see him capitalising on his solid form to emerge as a contender for the championship. There is no question about his team’s standing in the pecking order with three out of three championships already going their way. As with 2018, he will again be sporting the Kyocera Document Solutions livery.
“We’re looking forward to an exciting season at the front of the field in 2019” says an eager Wood. “There is no doubt that I’m part of the right team to contest for championship honours. We have laid a solid foundation during 2018 to build on and I’m looking forward to the start of the season. I would also like to thank my partners Kyocera for their continued support. GTC provides a solid media and engagement platform which we will no doubt capitalize on.”
The 2019 season will see two new circuits added to the calendar as well: The first of this will be Dezzi Raceway in Port Shepstone which will host the opening round of the season. Red Star Raceway in Delmas will see the season finale taking place around the clockwise configuration. Unlike most of the drivers in the field, Wood will participate in these rounds with prior circuit experience gained in other categories. The GTC championship will also be the only national category to have an event hosted at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit during the season. This will again form part of the Festival of Motoring.
Wood’s full calendar for 2019 will look as follow:
Round 1: March 1-2 – Dezzi Raceway, Port Shepstone
Round 2: April 5-6 – Zwartkops Raceway, Pretoria
Round 3: May 10-11 – Killarney International Raceway, Cape Town
Round 4: June 14-15 – Aldo Scribante Racetrack, Port Elizabeth
Round 5: July 26-27 – Zwartkops Raceway, Pretoria
Round 6: August 23-25 – Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, Midrand
Round 7: September 27-28 – Killarney International Raceway, Cape Town
Round 8: October 25-26 – Red Star Raceway, Delmas
For all updates of Wood’s season and for more updates regarding his partners, fans are welcome to follow his official Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/AdrianWoodRacing.
VOLKSWAGEN CONTINUES TO INVEST IN THE FUTURE OF MOTORSPORT
• Volkswagen establishes specialized Motorsport Academy to invest in the future of motorsport.
• Racing legend Michael Stephen joins Volkswagen to head up the Academy.
Volkswagen Motorsport is starting 2019 with a bang. Besides announcing the line-up of factory drivers that will represent the motoring giant in the various racing categories as well as the good news that South Arica’s longest running and most successful series will have a new title sponsor in 2019, Volkswagen is also proud to announce the establishment of the pioneering Volkswagen Motorsport Academy.
The Volkswagen Motorsport Academy’s main goal will be to ensure the sustainability of motorsport and especially circuit racing going forward. This is further proof of Volkswagen’s commitment to the South African market and its people. The company has always been a responsible investor in the markets where they are represented, and nowhere else has it been more evident than right here on South African soil.
Over the past three years, the company, through its motorsport division and associated Volkswagen Advanced Driving Academy, has successfully unearthed raw driving talent through an innovative talent-search programme. For 2019, Volkswagen is pleased to announce that they have expanded even more through the establishment of a dedicated Volkswagen Motorsport Academy. The Academy will run a number of courses throughout 2019 that will be commercially available to the broader and upcoming motorsport communities. As a bonus, participants in all the courses will also stand a chance to be selected for a final shootout in November where the winner could end up with a chance to join to the official Volkswagen factory team.
“We are also very pleased to announce that our Motorsport Academy will be headed up by local racing legend and multiple champion in various categories, Michael Stephen,” said Mr. Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport. “Michael comes with great credentials and racing experience and with him as the lead coach, we are certain that participants couldn’t really ask for anything better.”
The multiple South African champion is also upbeat about the new challenge offered by Volkswagen. “Motorsport has given me so much over the years,” said Stephen. “I am very excited to now be able to give something back. South Africa has produced some great drivers over the years and I can’t wait to play a part in finding and developing the next batch,” he concluded.
Volkswagen factory team driver line-up
For Volkswagen Motorsport itself, for 2019 the team will once again have its sights firmly set on both the GTC and GTC2 trophies. Brad Liebenberg will join Adrian Wood in the fleet of all-conquering Golf GTIs in the GTC2 category. “We all know that the GTI is championship winning car. We also know the talent and driving abilities of both Bradley and Adrian, so we hope that we will remain the team to beat in GTC2,” added Rowe. Liebenberg will have backing from Smartcall while the Wood GTI will once again sport Kyocera livery.
Double GTC2 champion Keagan Masters will now make the jump to the premier GTC category where he will join teammate Daniel Rowe in the Volkswagen GTC Jettas. “Keagan has more than earned his drive by dominating the GTC2 category over the last two seasons while Daniel proved to be one of the quickest drivers in the GTC field last year. Between the two of them, we have every reason to believe that we will be extremely competitive during 2019,” concluded Rowe.
Both Volkswagen’s factory teams competing in the Falken Polo Cup and GTC series will be in action during Round One of the 2019 Extreme Festival to be held at the beautiful Dezzi Raceway on the South Coast of KZN over the weekend of 1 and 2 March.
[Issued by Volkswagen Motorsport]
STATEMENT FROM MICHAEL STEPHEN, 3-TIME SASOL GTC CHAMPION
“After 17 years as part of Terry Moss Racing : Engen / Audi, it is unfortunate that due to unforeseen circumstances I will not be defending my Global Touring Cars title in 2019.
“I would like to thank the TMR team and all the associated sponsors (especially Engen Petroleum and Audi South Africa) for an amazing and successful journey over the years and wish them all of the best into the future.
“However, as one door closes many opportunities await and I am excited for the possibilities the future has to offer. So be sure that I won’t be disappearing!
“First up though, keep an eye out for a fast Plymouth Barracuda in the legends of the 9hr at Zwartkops on February 1-2. More info will follow regarding my plans for 2019.”
Everyone at GTC wishes Mike a successful year ahead and thanks him for the dedication he showed towards his team, sponsors, fellow competitors and the category. We hope to welcome him back on the grid in the near future! #SasolGTC