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.
Brad Liebenberg became the first GTC SupaCup champion this past weekend (November 6-7) when he beat rival Jeffrey Kruger by a single point at the season finale held at Zwartkops Raceway.
Saturday morning’s qualifying saw Liebenberg (Nathan’s Motorsport) take the Dunlop Pole Position after setting a time 0.004 seconds faster than that of his rival Kruger (Universal Racing) who controlled the pace for most of Friday. Saul Hack (Team Perfect Circle) headed up the second row ahead of Jonathan Mogotsi (Volkswagen Squadra Corse). Andre Bezuidenhout (Team Perfect Circle) qualified in fifth joined on the third row by Jason Campos (Campos Racing); a top-three regular in Friday’s practice sessions. Shaun Duminy (SMD Exotics) and Johan de Bruyn (OdorCure) shared the fourth row ahead of Paul Hill (Kalex Racing) and Manogh Maharaj (SMD Exotics); the latter having missed two of Friday’s practice sessions while travelling from Mozambique.
Race 1 saw a head-to-head battle between the front row starters with Mogotsi in tow. It was Kruger who won the race while setting the fastest lap to bring the margin down to five points between himself and race runner-up Liebenberg. Mogotsi dropped back from the pair and finished in third place while holding off Campos who made his way past the Team Perfect Circle pair in the early stages. Hack finished in fifth place while Bezuidenhout completed the top-six. Hill, who occupied sixth place early in the race, finished in seventh after holding off De Bruyn in the closing stages. An opening lap off-track excursion saw Duminy drop to the back of the pack, but he gained back one position to finish ahead of Maharaj.
Kruger made it back-to-back wins with fastest laps in Race 2 while Liebenberg again finished as runner-up. This saw the latter securing the title with just a one-point margin over Kruger. Hack completed the podium, closely pursued by Campos. Mogotsi’s fifth place was enough for him to finish third on the outright points table. Bezuidenhout completed the top-six while De Bruyn and Maharaj rounded out the finishers. An opening lap incident between Duminy and Hill eliminated both drivers from the race.
Outside the top-three on the leaderboard, Hack finished his season in fourth place ahead of teammate Bezuidenhout. Duminy completed the top-six.
The inaugural Global Touring Cars SupaCup title will be decided between Brad Liebenberg and Jeffrey Kruger at the Zwartkops Raceway season finale this coming weekend (November 6-7).
A shortened season consisting of four rounds over three months sees Brad Liebenberg (Nathan’s Motorsport) and Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Racing) emerge as the two title contenders heading into the final round. This pair continued their battle which started in the 2019 Oettinger Polo Cup where it was Liebenberg who took the championship win on the same day that he took his GTC2 title.
Liebenberg tops the leaderboard with 157 points; eight clear of second-placed Kruger. He also heads up the statistics for race wins (5 vs 3), Dunlop Pole Positions (2 vs 1) and fastest laps (4 vs 3). Both drivers are equally motivated to take the title with Liebenberg aiming to make it two consecutive titles in the category, while Kruger is keen to claim another title for Universal Racing which took a one-two championship finish in this year’s Oettinger Polo Cup.
Further back, Jonathan Mogotsi (Volkswagen Squadra Corse) and Saul Hack (Team Perfect Circle) will be eager to take home the “best of the rest” bragging rights. Mogotsi has 118 points next to his name; three clear of Hack. This pair shared scoring third-place and fourth-place positions throughout the first eight races with Mogotsi recording a podium finish on five occasions. Both drivers will also be eager to finish their season by taking their maiden race victories.
The battle for fifth place will be contested between Shaun Duminy (SMD Exotics) and Andre Bezuidenhout (Team Perfect Circle). One point separates the pair with Duminy leading the way on 95 points. They have been heading up the midfield battles throughout 2020 and both will be eager to get the upper hand at Zwartkops Raceway. After missing the season opener, Johan de Bruyn (OdorCure) has accumulated 60 points and occupies seventh position. Round 3 also saw him being a firm contender in the midfield battle.
After missing Round 3, Manogh Maharaj (SMD Exotics) on 49 points and Jason Campos (Campos Racing) will return at Zwartkops Raceway. Campos’ father Rui substituted for him in Port Elizabeth where he accumulated 36 points. Paul Hill (Kalex Racing) with 31 points will also be eager to return to Zwatkops Raceway. The last time that he participated at the circuit in GTC2, he took his first race win.
Friday will see three practice sessions before Saturday’s qualifying session to determine the final Dunlop Pole Position of 2020. Both races will be contested over 12 laps and are scheduled to start at 12:56 and 16:30. Under Level 1 of the Risk-Adjusted Strategy for the easing of the national lockdown, spectators are prohibited from attending sporting events within South Africa.
Global Touring Cars would like to thank the following partners for making the 2020 season possible: Dunlop Tyres South Africa, SKF and Strata-g Labour Solutions.
Volkswagen Motorsport’s Daniel Rowe and Keagan Masters shared GTC race wins this past weekend in Port Elizabeth (October 30-31) while Robbie Wolk took his first season victory for the Chemical Logistics team in Race 3. Brad Liebenberg extended his GTC SupaCup Championship lead with three wins at Aldo Scribante Racetrack’s Volkswagen Race Day.
Near-perfect weekend for Volkswagen Motorsport in GTC
The Volkswagen Motorsport Golf GTi pair of Rowe and Masters dominated Saturday morning by locking out the front row of the grid in qualifying. Port Elizabeth resident Rowe narrowly beat reigning champion Masters to the Dunlop Pole Position by 0.003 of a second. The Chemical Logistic Toyota Corolla pair of Robert Wolk and debutant Julian van der Watt qualified in third and fourth positions. Dealing with mechanical difficulties, the Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Corolla pair of Mandla Mdakane and Michael van Rooyen completed the grid.
Rowe held the lead off the line in Race 1 while Masters and Wolk jostled for position. It was a lights-to-flag win for Rowe while setting a new lap record, with Wolk and Masters rounding out the podium. Van der Watt finished his first race in fourth place. Van Rooyen moved up to fifth place off the line, but on the penultimate lap, a fuel-sensor problem saw him losing pace and giving the position back to Mdakane.
Race 2 saw a close battle at the front between Masters – who took the win – and runner-up Wolk. In the process, he also eclipsed Rowe’s lap record from earlier. Van Rooyen occupied third place until Lap 8 when a wiring problem forced him to retire. Rowe beat Van der Watt to fourth place. Mdakane finished in fifth.
An incident around the opening corner in Race 3 saw Masters stranded on the side of the circuit while Van Rooyen had steering component damage. Subsequently, the race was stopped. Van Rooyen was not able to have the damage on his car repaired while Mdakane’s car would not start. Rowe and Masters both had to start from pit lane. The restart saw Van der Watt taking a brief lead, but on Lap 2 he spun off and handed the position to Wolk. Masters occupied second place, but a mechanical failure forced him to retire with two laps to go. This saw Rowe finishing as runner-up while Van der Watt took his maiden podium finish.
Liebenberg dominates in GTC SupaCup
Brad Liebenberg (Nathan’s Motorsport) secured his second Dunlop Polo Position ahead of championship rival Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Racing). Jonathan Mogotsi (Volkswagen Squadra Corse) lined up on the grid in third place ahead of Andre Bezuidenhout (Team Perfect Circle); the latter’s car had to be rebuilt on Friday following an incident in Practice 1. Shaun Duminy (SMD Exotics) qualified in fifth ahead of Rui Campos (Campos Racing); Campos replaced his son Jason who missed the round due to family commitments. Saul Hack (Team Perfect Circle) qualified in seventh place ahead of Johan de Bruyn (OdorCure) and Paul Hill (Kalex Racing).
Liebenberg held off Kruger to take a lights-to-flag victory in Race 1 while Mogotsi was in close pursuit on his way to third place. Hack gradually made up positions in the opening laps before slotting into fourth place. Further back, Duminy and Campos had a good tussle for fifth place. Hill took sixth place ahead of De Bruyn. Bezuidenhout completed the field.
In Race 2, Liebenberg again held off Kruger in a race-long battle to take his second victory. Mogotsi took his second podium finish for the day ahead of Hack. Duminy took fifth place following a battle with Campos. Hill held off Bezuidenhout for seventh place. De Bruyn completed the field after falling to the back following a spin on Lap 1.
In Race 3, he won the race with a slight margin of comfort, while Kruger and Mogotsi again rounded out the podium. Hack and Bezuidenhout finished in fourth and fifth positions. Campos beat De Bruyn and Duminy to sixth place while Hill completed the finishers list.
The final round of the season will take place this coming weekend (November 6-7) at Zwartkops Raceway.
The Global Touring Cars and GTC SupaCup field will be making its first coastal visit in 13 months this coming weekend (October 30-31) at the Volkswagen Race Day to be held at Aldo Scribante in Port Elizabeth.
Volkswagen vs Toyota in GTC
The previous round at Red Star Raceway saw the Volkswagen Motorsport pair of Keagan Masters and Daniel Rowe taking a win each, while Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Michael van Rooyen recorded his second series-victory.
Rowe, residing in Port Elizabeth, and reigning champion Masters will have some extra motivation to do well on the weekend in their Volkswagen Golf 8 GTis. The capital city of the Eastern Cape province is also where Volkswagen South Africa is based and although spectators are still not allowed to attend sporting events under Level 1 of the Risk-Adjusted Strategy for the easing of the national lockdown, it will mean a lot to the team to be victorious at the manufacturer’s home circuit.
Rowe leads the championship heading into the weekend with 61 points beside his name while Masters is in fourth place with 47 points.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa team showed strong pace at Red Star Raceway last month. While Van Rooyen took the win in his Toyota Corolla, GTC2 graduate Mandla Mdakane’s weekend was hampered by mechanical difficulties. Both drivers will be eager to show their pace early on this round. Van Rooyen trails Rowe by five points in second place on the points table while Mdakane is in fifth place with 34 points.
For these four, this will however not be their first outing in their respective cars at the circuit. In August, they participated in the second round of the South African Endurance Series and although neither of the teams finished the four-hour race, they’ve accumulated usable data from the event.
For the Chemical Logistics Toyota team, switching to the Toyota Corollas for the 2020 season will be a new adventure. Robbie Wolk is a previous winner at the circuit and will be eager to take the team’s first win for the season. This time around he’ll be joined by debutant Julian van der Watt in the second car. The former F1600 champion will be replacing Scott Temple for this round as per the team’s strategy to split the driving duties for the season. Wolk finds himself in third place in the championship with 49 points, while Temple accumulated 30 points at Red Star Raceway.
Liebenberg vs Kruger in GTC SupaCup
Brad Liebenberg (Nathan’s Motorsport) and Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Racing) are set to continue their battle in the all-Volkswagen GTC SupaCup class.
Liebenberg has 98 points to his name, while Kruger sits on 96. The race wins are in Liebenberg’s favour with three versus two, but it’s Kruger who’s has the upper hand with one more pole position. They are tied at two-all when it comes to fastest laps.
Johnathan Mogotsi (Volkswagen Squadra Corse) and Saul Hack (Team Perfect Circle) are tied on 73 points, but with the third position on the points table in Mogotsi’s favour. Mogotsi will be aiming to take his maiden victory at the circuit where he won his first Polo Cup race in 2017, but it is Hack who will be coming in with recent experience. Hack and his teammate Andre Bezuidenhout – who is in fith place with 62 points – also competed in the South African Endurance Series event earlier this season.
The SMD Exotics pair of Shaun Duminy and Manogh Maharaj have accumulated 59 and 49 points respectively. Jason Campos (Campos Racing) on 37 points and Johan de Bruyn (OdorCure) on 30 points will both compete in their second championship weekend.
Port Elizabeth will also see Paul Hill (Kalex Racing) making his first appearance for the 2020 season.
Friday will see four practice sessions with Saturday morning’s qualifying session scheduled for 09:00; split as a 15-minute session-per-class. This round will again see three races. The first two will be run over 10 laps at 11:00 and 13:30. The 12-lap third race will start at 16:00.
Due to spectators not being allowed at the venue, the Extreme Festival will again be streamed online. Further details regarding this will be supplied during the course of the week.
[ISSUED BY GTC]
Daniel Rowe, Keagan Masters and Michael van Rooyen took a win-a-piece at Red Star Raceway this past weekend (September 25-26) while Brad Liebenberg and Jeffrey Kruger again showed their dominance in the GTC SupaCup.
The event consisted of three races which saw the first 2020 outing for the premier class competitors in the Global Touring Cars category, with three drivers also making their debut.
Defending champions Volkswagen Motorsport draws first blood in GTC
Daniel Rowe (Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa) set the pace during Friday’s two latter practice sessions in his Volkswagen Golf 8 GTi and followed this up by taking his maiden Dunlop Polo Position on Saturday morning. He was joined on the front row of the grid by his teammate and reigning champion Keagan Masters. Michael van Rooyen (Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa) headed up the group of four Toyota Corollas in third place with Robert Wolk (Chemical Logistics Racing) alongside him. GTC2 graduate and Van Rooyen’s teammate Mandla Mdakane qualified in fifth place ahead of series and saloon car debutant Scott Temple (Chemical Logistics Racing).
Rowe and Masters made a good start and controlled the race from the front to retain their positions throughout; they started the season with a one-two finish for the reigning manufacturers’ champions. Van Rooyen held off Wolk in the early laps, but the latter made his way into third place on Lap 3. A puncture sidelined Wolk on Lap 6 and handed the position back to Van Rooyen. Van Rooyen crossed the line in third place after gaining on Masters in the final two laps, Further back Mdakane held off Temple for fourth place with Wolk classified in sixth place.
Masters took a lights-to-flag win from pole in Race 2 while Rowe lost two positions on Lap 1 to Van Rooyen and Wolk. While Masters held a handy lead up front, the two Toyota drivers battled for second place until Lap 7 when Van Rooyen went off track. This allowed both Wolk and Rowe through to complete the podium. Temple finished in fifth place a lap down. Mdakane retired on the warm-up lap with a mechanical problem.
In Race 3 Wolk took an early lead while Van Rooyen found himself jostling for position with the Masters and Rowe in the early stages. Masters retired on Lap 5 which saw Van Rooyen move up into second place. The midway point saw Wolk starting to struggle with tyre degradation which resulted in him losing the lead and second place on the final lap. This saw Van Rooyen taking his second GTC victory at the same circuit where he took his first win at the end of the 2019 season. Rowe finished second and Wolk rounded out the podium. Mdakane still struggled with mechanical problems during the race which resulted in him going off track on the opening lap. He finished the race in fourth place. Temple did not start due to mechanical problems.
Liebenberg and Kruger continued their battle for GTC SupaCup supremacy
Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Racing) took his maiden pole position ahead of Liebenberg (Nathan’s Motorsport). Saul Hack (Team Perfect Circle) showed good pace throughout Friday and Qualified in third place ahead of Jonathan Mogotsi (Volkswagen Squadra Corse). Debutant Jason Campos (Campos Racing) set the fifth-fastest time ahead of Andre Bezuidenhout (Team Perfect Circle). Manogh Maharaj (SMD Exotics) had the upper-hand over teammate Shaun Duminy this time round in Qualifying while debutant Johan de Bruyn (OdorCure) completed the grid.
Kruger took his second GTC SupaCup win from pole position after making a good start. Liebenberg finished in second place while Hack closed in on him during the closing stages on route to his first podium finish. Mogotsi finished in fourth place. Bezuidenhout passed Campos on the opening lap and held him off to finish in fifth place after a good battle that lasted for the entire race. Duminy and De Bruyn were promoted to seventh and eighth places respectively when Maharaj went off track on the opening lap; the latter finished in ninth place.
In Race 2 Liebenberg passed Kruger early on Lap 1 for the lead and went on to make make it two-wins-a-piece between the pair for the season. Hack also took third place from Mogotsi to repeat his Race 1 result. Bezuidenhout and Campos rounded out the top-six. Maharaj had the initial upper-hand over Duminy, but an off-track excursion saw sliding to ninth place while allowing Duminy and De Bruyn through.
Kruger won Race 3 on track, but following the completion of the race, he was judged to have accelerated the pace too early from his pole position. He received a five-second penalty added onto his time. This handed the win to Liebenberg while Hack made it three third places for the day. Mogotsi held off Campos and Bezuidenhout for fourth place. Duminy, De Bruyn and Maharaj completed the field.
The next round of the GTC Season will be hosted at the Aldo Scribante Racetrack in Port Elizabeth on October 30-31. This will be the first and only coastal visit for the 2020 Extreme Festival tour and will include both the GTC and GTC SupaCup classes.
Red Star Raceway is ready to host the second round of the 2020 Global Touring Cars season this weekend (September 25-26) with the premier GTC class set to make its first appearance for the year ahead of the GTC SupaCup field.
New-look GTC field to set the pace up front.
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the GTC field did not participate in the season-opener at Zwartkops Raceway in August, but the Volkswagen and Toyota models did make a debut in the South African Endurance Series with four of drivers getting an extended run in a competitive situation.
Daniel Rowe and reigning champion Keagan Masters will aim to continue Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa’s 2019 form in the Volkswagen Golf 8 GTi. This will be Masters’ second season in the top class after two seasons in the former GTC2. Thus far, every campaign for him ended with a Championship title. Red Star Raceway is also the venue where Masters won his 2019 title and he’ll be eager to add to his one race win at the venue.
Rowe will start 2020 as the category’s most experienced campaigner with 66 race starts to his name of which 52 were in the top class. His best championship result of fourth-place has inspired him to come back even stronger and he’ll be banking on the combination of youth and experience to emerge as a title contender heading into 2021.
Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s campaign will be headed up by Michael van Rooyen. His last outing for the team at Red Star Raceway saw him take his maiden win. He will be joined by Mandla Mdakane who makes his GTC debut after previously having 41 GTC2 starts to his name across the first four seasons of the category; one being a race win. The pair will be contesting 2020 in the new Toyota Corolla Quest.
Also changing to the Toyota Corolla Quest and adding a second car to their line-up will be the Investchem Logistics backed WCT Engineering outfit. Robert Wolk will start his fourth GTC season with Scott Temple set to make his debut; switching from the Investchem F1600 Single Seater category.
GTC SupaCup battle to continue
Brad Liebenberg (Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa) and Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Racing) are set to resume their battle at the front of the GTC SupaCup. At present, the second-tier class – which is open to other manufacturers as well – is contested by an all-Volkswagen Polo field. The two drivers shared wins at Zwartkops Raceway following two closely contested battles.
Liebenberg’s teammate Johathan Mogotsi found himself closely-matching the pair throughout the opening weekend and will be eager to take his first win in the class.
Team Perfect Circle’s Saul Hack and Andre Bezuidenhout have since completed a lot of competitive track-time with two successful South African Endurance Series outings. They’ll be aiming to find themselves in contention with the battle at the front of the field.
It will be the first outing at Red Star Raceway for the SMD Exotics duo of Shaun Duminy and Manogh Maharaj. Johan de Bruyn (OdorCure) will be making his debut in the class after having to withdraw from the season-opener. Jason Campos (Campos Racing) will also be a firt-time starter.
The event will form part of the national Extreme Festival tour. South Africa has moved to Level 1 of the Risk-Adjusted Strategy for the easing of lockdown regulations which still prohibits the attendance of any spectators at sporting events.
Friday will see four practice sessions ahead of Saturday morning’s qualifying session to determine the starting grid and Dunlop pole position. Both races on Saturday will be contested over eight laps and will start at 12:15 and 15:15.
The inaugural GTC SupaCup round for 2020 saw debutant Jeffrey Kruger and reigning GTC2 Champion Brad Liebenberg trade hard-fought wins at Zwartkops Raceway last weekend (August 7-8).
Saturday morning’s Qualifying session saw Liebenberg (Volkswagen Motorsport) continue his late-Practice Day pace to take the Dunlop Pole Position ahead of Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Racing) who occupied the position consistently on Friday.
Jonathan Mogotsi (Volkswagen Motorsport) topped the timesheets for most of the session and lined up in third place. Saul Hack (Team Perfect Circle) set the pace in Friday’s early two sessions and completed the top-four who were covered by just over a quarter of a second. Shaun Duminy (SMD Exotics) and Andre Bezuidenhout (Team Perfect Circle) completed the top-six with Manogh Maharaj (SMD Exotics) setting the seventh-fastest time.
Although entered, Johan de Bruyn (OdorCure) did not participate this weekend while recovering from an operation prior to the event.
In Race 1, Liebenberg took the lead off the line but Kruger had the inside-line heading into Turn 2 to move into the front. The pair continued their cat-and-mouse battle for the duration of the race with Kruger taking the first win in the new class. Mogotsi set the maiden lap-record during the race and tailed the pair over the line to complete the podium.
Hack finished in fourth place while further back, Duminy held off Bezuidenhout for fifth place. Maharaj completed the field.
In Race 2, Liebenberg again made a good start and held the lead into the second sector of the opening lap. The opening laps saw the frontrunning trio opening up a slight margin over Hack. Liebenberg set the fastest lap of the race on his way to his maiden win, dominating over second-placed Kruger who had to fend off attacks from Mogotsi in third; his second third-place finish of the day.
Hack and Duminy repeated their respective fourth and fifth places. Bezuidenhout was closely-pursued by Maharaj to sixth place.
With South African motorsport being a recent addition to activities allowed under the Risk-Adjusted Strategy, some aspects around the remainder of the 2020 calendar are yet to be finalised. The next round of the GTC SupaCup is provisionally scheduled for September 26 with the venue still to be confirmed.
For the latest news, please head to www.gtcafrica.co.za
Despite the 2020 South African motorsport season being brought to an early halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Touring Cars (GTC) Championship will return to racing this week when it heads to Zwartkops Raceway as part of the Extreme Festival.
The opening round of the 2020 season was scheduled to take place in April after the start of what was the National Lockdown, and permission to resume racing was only recently granted in July by Motorsport South Africa, the country’s governing body of motorsport.
On Friday, July 31 the Extreme Festival tour presented a schematic which will allow for three further national race weekends to be hosted, however options for a full GTC championship season as per the last three seasons are will not be possible this year.
As a result, GTC management approached the South African Endurance Series regarding the inclusion of all current GTC Championship and the new GTC SupaCup cars in their championship, which follows the participation of two GTC SupaCup cars which competed in the opening round of the SAES Championship at Zwartkops Raceway on July 24-25.
While GTC and GTC Supacup technical regulations have been adopted into this new class, the SAES rules regarding all other aspects regarding the competition will also apply.
The second round of the SAES Championship will be hosted at the Aldo Scribante Racetrack in Port-Elizabeth on August 14-15, with Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa scheduled to debut their newly launched Golf 8 GTi race car. Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa will also be starting their 2020 campaign in this race.
This coming weekend (August 7-8) will also see the GTC SupaCup field taking to Zwartkops Raceway as part of the first post-lockdown Extreme Festival event. Entrants include reigning GTC2 Champion Brad Liebenberg, while Shaun Duminy will also make a return after his last appearing in 2017. Category newcomers include Jeffrey Kruger, Jonathan Mogotsi, Manogh Maharaj, Saul Hack and Andre Bezuidenhout.
This event, as well as all other sporting events hosted in South Africa during the Risk-Adjusted Strategy of the Lockdown, will not be open to spectators. Acting on this, GTC has contracted RaceDay TV for the upcoming weekend with regular behind-the-scenes inserts being broadcast live from the event. The SAES Championship will be streaming the second round of their season. Both of these broadcasts will also be available on the GTC Facebook page.
GTC Director Gary Formato says he’s confident that the new measures will be advantageous to the long-term growth of the sport, despite the uncertainty around the current year.
“It is a very big step for us to become involved with SAES but from the beginning we said that these cars are designed for longer distances and endurance racing is certainly the proving ground for this,” said Formato. “Roger Pearce and his team have built a very successful series and it is exciting for us to share in this going forward. In the meantime, it is also exciting to have the long-awaited debut of our GTC SupaCup class this coming weekend. We are certainly looking forward to this.”
Fans are invited to keep up with all the latest news and developments on GTC’s website and social media channels.
[Issued by GTC]
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]