Global Touring Cars (GTC) has confirmed a revamped 2018 Sasol GTC Championship calendar, in which Red Star Raceway will become the sixth circuit that the category will travel to this coming year in a revamped nine-round motorsport season.
Starting in March at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Midrand, the championship will again visit Aldo Scribante in Port Elizabeth, East London Grand Prix Circuit on the Eastern Cape, Killarney Raceway in Cape Town, Zwartkops Raceway in Gauteng and finish the year in late October at Red Star Raceway which has been added to the calendar for the first time since the category’s inception two years ago.
While eight of the nine rounds will be part of the Extreme Festival, another addition to the 2018 season will be running Round 7 of the championship at the SA Festival of Motoring at Kyalami, where tens of thousands of people from around South Africa come to celebrate all things motorsport and automotive.
“It’s important that GTC continues to grow each year and reach more of our fans across South Africa, so we’re very keen to get to Red Star Raceway later in the year as well as showcase GTC to the huge crowds at the SA Festival of Motoring,” said GTC director Gary Formato.
“Introducing a new circuit in particular, where no-one has any form of testing or racing data, will also add an exciting element to our championship fight which we expect to go down to the final few races again like last year. In the coming months, we’ll unveil details about new entries to the grid and also improved ways of reaching out to our fans at each round so that we can truly showcase the best of GTC to a wider audience and make 2018 our best season yet.”
Engen Xtreme Team’s Michael Stephen claimed his second consecutive Sasol GTC Championship at the final round at Zwartkops Raceway last November, ahead of title rival Gennaro Bonafede from the Sasol GTC Racing Team, and third-placed fellow Audi driver Simon Moss who broke through for his first two wins in GTC at the grand finale.
In GTC2, Volkswagen Motorsport’s Keagan Masters took his inaugural title in the production class, ahead of Mini South Africa’s Chris Shorter and TB Racing’s Trevor Bland in third.
More information about the 2018 Sasol GTC Championship will be announced in coming weeks.
Pretoria, South Africa – Michael Stephen claimed his second consecutive Sasol GTC Championship at the final round at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, as his Engen Xtreme teammate Simon Moss broke through for his first wins of the season.
Under leaden skies and pouring rain, Stephen scored his third pole position of the season but challenging conditions saw him drive a risk-free first race to eventually finish in fifth place which was enough to score enough points over his title-rival Gennaro Bonafede (Sasol BMW GTC) for the championship win.
A double-delight for the Audi team, Moss had struggled all year to greet the chequered flag first all year, but pushed through with confidence in the trying conditions to seal his first Sasol GTC victory in the first 10-lap race and he repeated that result in race two from the back of the inverted grid. A masterful drive on a wet track saw Moss set both fastest race laps and nearly depose Bonafede from second place in the final championship standings. In the end, there was just three points between Bonafede and Moss on the final points standings of the year.
Third place in both races went to the “Rustenburg Rocket” racer Michael van Rooyen after qualifying his RSC BMW GTC in an impressive fourth place, in his best weekend of the season. However an overboost issue saw him relegated to the back of the grid for race one. Driving an exceptional pair of races, his two third-place results on Saturday meant that every GTC competitor in 2017 has stood on the podium during the course of the nine-round, eighteen race premier race series.
Johan Fourie, a race winner at Kyalami earlier in November, brought his EPS Couriers BMW GTC home in second place in the opening race but set-up changes for race two saw the BMW struggle, battling with grip on the still-wet circuit later in the afternoon.
The factory Volkswagen Jetta team showed great pace at Zwartkops with Daniel Rowe banking his best-ever qualifying position on the front row, while teammate Mathew Hodges overcame a poor qualifying session to finish fourth and fifth in the two GTC races. Rowe, meanwhile, went off the track in race one, ending a disappointed seventh but recovered to a strong fourth place finish in the second race.
The Sasol GTC Racing Team did not the end the year as they had hoped, with Bonafede languishing in sixth place after giving his all in a no-holds-barred race where he had to take several risks in his championship quest. In race two, the title rival again ended sixth. The Sasol BMW driven by Robert Wolk battled in the conditions with a misted window in the first race and went off track, while in race two, having started from the front row of the grid, he went off at turn five with cold brakes and circulated at the rear of the field.
GTC2 provided another spectacular pair of races, with race one won by Chris Shorter in his Champion MINI John Cooper Works, followed by his MINI teammate Brad Liebenberg in the Ferodo-backed MINI JCW. Shorter sealed second place overall in class in what was the MINI’s first season of competition.
Newly crowned GTC2 champion Keagan Masters (Volkswagen Advanced Driving Golf GTi) ended the first race in third position but came through the pack to claim his eighth victory of the year, followed by Liebenberg and Shorter. Trevor Bland (TB Racing VW Golf GTi) who held second place on the championship points was in the wars in the brat-pack race and was involved in a race-ending incident in race two, leaving him third in the final standings, a fine effort from the privateer.
At the glittering Sasol GTC Awards ceremony later in the evening Mohammed Carrim, Sasol Energy Vice-President Marketing and Sales said: “We are very proud to end this year on high with the Sasol GTC Championship Awards ceremony. We congratulate Michael Stephen and his team on their victory. As a sponsor we thank all the GTC teams for their endurance and contribution to another successful season. I am happy to confirm that our Sasol GTC Championship sponsorship – which is appropriately referred to as a “laboratory-on-wheels” sponsorship – is delivering in terms of our ability to conduct research on the performance of our products while the Championship as a whole provides us with a fantastic platform to showcase our products.”
[Issued by Sasol]
Sandton, South Africa – The Sasol GTC Championship will crown its new champion at Zwartkops Raceway this Saturday, November 25, bringing down the curtain on thrilling season that evolved into a race between two of South Africa’s top racing talents, Michael Stephen and Gennaro Bonafede, who between them have won 14 of the 16 races held around the country.
The country’s premier touring car series offers one last bite at the 111 points on offer and for Bonafede, who led the majority of the season in his Sasol BMW GTC, it will be crucial to deliver the performance of his life as he strives to claim his first title. Stephen (Engen Xtreme Audi GTC) is in pole position to retain his 2016 title, enjoying an 86 point lead after taking the chequered flag first for the ninth time this year at Kyalami earlier this month.
Both the Sasol BMW squad and the Engen Audi outfit have strong teammates who will be brought in to play in the quest to secure the coveted title. Robert Wolk, behind the wheel of the #41 Sasol BMW GTC took his maiden GTC victory and was very quick when the series last visited Zwartkops in August, while in the Audi camp, Simon Moss is a quick and capable driver who will support his team leader all the way.
Adding intrigue to the final showdown is the newfound competitiveness of Johan Fourie (EPS Couriers BMW GTC) who became the latest Sasol GTC winner at Kyalami three weeks ago. He will be aiming to end his season on a high which could upset the title rivals’ plans.
Volkswagen cannot be discounted after their impressive showing last time out; Mathew Hodges claimed two runner-up places in his factory-run Jetta GTC while Daniel Rowe claimed his first podium on merit. After a generally disappointing season for the Uitenhage team, Hodges will be hoping to repeat his form and go one step better, as he did at the final event last year when he claimed his maiden GTC victory.
Michael van Rooyen and his RSC BMW GTC will be aiming to bank a podium after a season in which he came close on several occasions. The Rustenburg Rocket has been in the mix and a solid result will give this most enthusiastic of privateers a welcome boost ahead of the 2018 season.
With the GTC2 title safely locked away in Keagan Masters’ cupboard, attention turns to the runner-up championship positions which is a four-way fight between the current incumbent Trevor Bland (TB Racing VW Golf GTi), Chris Shorter (Champion MINI John Cooper Works), Charl Smalberger (iCorp VW Golf GTI) and Brad Liebenberg (Ferodo MINI John Cooper Works). The quartet is separated by 97 points so any of the four could land up at the top of the pile. Making this contest all the more intriguing is that the youngsters have all won races this year, making a prediction all the more difficult.
Mandla Mdakane (Volkswagen Golf GTi) will be looking to bank his second win of the year and end his season on a high while Iain Stevenson (Comsol Honda Civic Type-R) will be adding development mileage to his new racing car. Neil; Adcock continues his learning curve in his AidCall VW Golf GTi, adding to the GTC2 field.
The all-important qualifying session takes place on Friday at 16h35.
On race day, fans have the chance to mingle with the drivers on the grid at 11h45 during the Fan Grid Walk which will immediately be flowed by the first 17 lap race.
Race two, which features an inverted grid is scheduled to start at 15h05 with another 17 laps of the 2.4km long circuit.
[Issued by Sasol]
Kyalami, South Africa – Reigning Sasol GTC Champion Michael Stephen took another step closer towards retaining his crown after powering to a race two victory at round eight of the 2017 season at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit yesterday, extending his points lead over fellow title contender Gennaro Bonafede.
After placing third in race one, it was the second race in which Stephen took his Engen Audi GTC to victory – his eighth race win of the season – while season-long rival Bonafede (Sasol BMW GTC), came home in fourth place in race one, and fifth in race two despite dominating the final 12-lap race until midway when mechanical issues dropped him down the order.
Stephen has a substantial 86-point lead with 111 points available at the last round in late November, leaving Bonafede with a slim mathematical chance of lifting the coveted title.
In the front-wheel drive GTC2 class, Keagan Masters claimed the title after a dominant race-one victory in his factory Volkswagen Golf GTi.
However, the Sasol GTC Championship headlines at Kyalami belonged to Johan Fourie who qualified his EPS Couriers BMW GTC on pole position with an impressive 0.5 second advantage over the pack. The Capetonian went on to win his maiden Sasol GTC race in race one, chased hard by an invigorated Mathew Hodges (Volkswagen Jetta GTC), with champion-elect Stephen rounding out the podium.
Hodges made a valiant but unsuccessful attempt to pass Fourie around the outside of the Bowl corner, a move which allowed Stephen and Bonafede to close up to the lead fight as the race wound down. Simon Moss, in the #38 Engen Audi, overcame a difficult qualifying session to end fifth, followed by Robert Wolk (Sasol BMW GTC), Michael van Rooyen (RCS BMW GTC) and Daniel Rowe in the second factory-run Jetta GTC.
The second race, from an inverted grid, saw the field pour into turn one four abreast with a little bumping between Wolk and Stephen, leaving Moss ahead of Rowe, Bonafede and Van Rooyen. Bonafede surged past the Audi on lap five and opened up a five second lead when his car’s engine suddenly cut out.
Moss meanwhile let his team leader past but was unaware of Hodges’ presence close behind and lost two places before suffering an issue that saw his car go into limp mode several times. The BMWs of Van Rooyen, Wolk and Fourie were all similarly affected by a mysterious cut–out, leaving the way for Daniel Rowe to pick up the final podium place.
In GTC2, Chris Shorter brought his Champion MINI John Cooper Works home in second place behind Masters in the first race, with teammate Brad Liebenberg rounding out the podium in his Ferodo MINI John Cooper Works.
In the second GTC 2 race, Liebenberg streaked into a healthy lead until the final lap, allowing Trevor Bland (TB Racing Golf GTi) to sneak a last gasp win with Shorter rounding out the podium in his MINI.
The final round of the Sasol GTC Championship takes place at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria on November 25.
Join the conversation on social media using #SasolGTC and visit www.sasolmotorsport.co.za for the latest Sasol GTC Championship news, broadcast schedules and so much more.
[Issued by Sasol]
Port Elizabeth – The fifth round of the 2017 Sasol GTC Championship was marked by three new race winners, incidents galore and superb racing at the Aldo Scribante race track as a large appreciative Eastern Cape crowd watched the battles unfold over two heats on Saturday.
Defending champion and Port Elizabeth Michael Stephen powered his #1 Engen Xtreme Audi GTC to the race one win, while Robert Wolk took his Sasol BMW GTC to his maiden GTC victory in the second race. In the GTC2 class, newcomer Bryn High caused a major upset win on debut while Chris Shorter survived a race-long duel in his Champion MINI JCW to take line honours in the second race.
The weekend got off to an exciting start as ontrack action began at the 2.4km track, as behind pole-sitter Stephen, the next five places were covered by just 0.3 seconds. Current championship leader Gennaro Bonafede led the charge against the home-town hero, followed by Simon Moss (Engen Audi GTC), Michael van Rooyen (RCS BMW GTC), Johan Fourie (EPS BMW GTC) and Wolk.
GTC2 qualifying was a scorching session: Shorter beat newcomer Bryn High (S&K Diesels Chevrolet Cruze) to pole by one thousandth of a second. Keagan Masters (VW Golf GTi) beat Charl Smalberger (iCorp VW Golf GTi) to third by three tenths of a second leaving Brad Liebenberg (Ferodo Mini JCW) down in fifth place, ahead of Trevor Bland (VW Golf GTi), Mandla Mdakane (VW Golf GTi) and Iain Steveson (Comsol Golf GTi).
The Sasol GTC Championship featured another popular 20-minute grid walk ahead of the opening race, giving race fans the opportunity to interact with the drivers.
Stephen made a stellar start and took an immediate lead but came under pressure from his teammate Moss and Bonafede’s Sasol BMW GTC. The three ran nose-to-tail throughout the 10-lap race, a fine show of complete trust in each other from the top professional drivers in the country. Behind the high-speed train at the front of the field, Van Rooyen made a bad start and lost ground to Fourie. Hodges tried to go around the outside, a move which did not end well for the VW driver. Fourie edged his fellow BMW driver, followed by Mathew Hodges and Daniel Rowe in the factory Volkswagen Jetta GTCs.
In the GTC2 race, Shorter and High made contact at turn two with the MINI driver falling to the back of the field. High took the lead and opened a commanding lead, while Bland and Smalberger duked it out for the other steps of the podium. Smalberger squeaked past Bland and held off his fellow GTi rival for three laps before Bland regained second place with Liebenberg heading the rest of the field across the line.
With the reverse grid in play, Wolk lined up next to Hodges on the front row, followed by Rowe, Van Rooyen, Fourie, Bonafede and the two Audis of Moss and Stephen at the read of grid. As the safety car peeled into the pits, Wolk took off and banked a sequence of very fast laps to build a solid lead which he was never to relinquish. Hodges tried to drive around the outside of Wolk, a move that saw him passed by van Rooyen.
Van Rooyen soon had the race one train looming large in his mirrors, headed by Bonafede who made great progress through the pack. Further back, Rowe led Fourie and Hodges: Stephen got ahead of Moss and made a bold move to overtake Bonafede but it ended in tears when Stephen nudged Bonafede; the two cars tangled and left the track together, rejoining at the back of the field.
This let Moss through into third place and he quickly caught and passed van Rooyen. Further back, Rowe tried to pass Fourie and the pair tangled at the Esses leaving Fourie off the road and out of the race. Hodges accepted fourth place which became third as van Rooyen spun one corner from home, colliding with the luckless Rowe in the process. Hodges finished third ahead of the recovering Stephen and Bonafede.
In the GTC2 race, Shorter was again on pole and put his head down, opening a handy lead over Masters. As the race wore on, Shorter’s lead evaporated to a bumper length, the Champion MINI driver just hanging on to cross the line first by a scant 0.2 seconds. Smalberger emerged in third once again, followed by Stevenson, High and Liebenberg.
The Sasol Raceday at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria will be a real showcase for the Sasol GTC Championship as the premier touring car series returns to the popular Gauteng circuit on August 12 for Round 6 of the 2017 Championship.
Join the conversation on social media using #SasolGTC and visit www.sasolmotorsport.co.za for the latest #Sasol GTC Championship news, broadcast schedules and so much more.
[Issued by Sasol]
The organisers of Global Touring Cars (GTC) in South Africa have today announced the introduction of a new research and development program aimed to assess all potential options for future powerplants, including green initiatives.
Starting as of Monday July 17, the program will explore how various engines would perform in the areas of reliability, performance and cost effectiveness in line with being run in GTC. This will be done via the building of a category-owned GTC test racecar, which is also expected to be fully track tested and potentially run at GTC weekends to assess performance in race conditions.
In recent months, the GTC management team has undertaken extensive discussions with its corporate partners, manufacturer representatives, teams and drivers, plus conducted market research with motorsport fans around South Africa.
As a result, GTC concluded that there is substantial interest in exploring various future options for powerplants, including assessing the category’s overall carbon footprint, and so decided to begin the new research phase.
GTC has always been promoted as a “serious, affordable racing” category and it was clear from the beginning of 2017 that the 2.0-litre turbo engines – which were required to secure manufacturer involvement – would need improvement.
It was also clear that if GTC is to be successful in attracting fans back to the race tracks and to build a commercially successful business, other options would need to be explored. However, the research phase will be carried out so that it is completely independent of the current GTC and GTC2 platforms being run at events, and any potential future implementations will not disadvantage the current GTC teams.
GTC’s senior management team takes the responsibility of running the category in a professional, entertaining and sustainable way very seriously, hence will take the weight of investment for this new research and development program internally. The right mechanical personnel will be brought together to build the category-owned test car, plus GTC will financially support the program to fully exhaust all avenues during this significant development for the category.
GTC reaffirms that the current GTC and GTC2 class formula will continue to compete for all remaining rounds of the 2017 Sasol GTC Championship, and management will continue to support and develop the two classes as it always has.
GTC will continue to work with its partners and with the MSA – South Africa’s official governing body of motorsport – to ensure that GTC continues to operate at international best practice.
The results of the research and development program will be assessed in the coming months, and progress updates will be announced publicly in due course.
The Aldo Scribante Circuit in Port Elizabeth hosts the next battleground for the Sasol GTC Championship teams as South Africa’s premier touring car category reaches the halfway mark of the 2017 Championship this weekend, July 14-15.
Sasol GTC Racing Team’s Gennaro Bonafede leads the field by 59, with defending champion Michael Stephen sitting in second and ready to capitalise on his hometown advantage. The Engen Xtreme Team driver, based in Port Elizabeth, has more laps under his belt around the 2.48km long circuit than most, and is widely regarded as being almost unbeatable on home turf.
Bonafede, driving the #32 Sasol BMW GTC car, will be out to prove he can beat the hometown hero, while Stephen, in the #1 Engen Xtreme Audi GTC will want to put on a winning show for his legions of fans.
With both drivers having each scored four race victories apiece in 2017, the battle lines will be drawn when the lights turn green come Saturday morning, Volkswagen National Race Day.
Added to the potent mix, the Volkswagen factory team based down the road from the Port Elizabeth in Uitenhage also has a point to prove, with Mathew Hodges and Daniel Rowe both wanting to show the competitiveness of the Volkswagen Jetta GTC racing cars. Hodges (#57) has visited the podium twice this year while Rowe (#11) – the reigning GTC2 champion – will be aiming for his first top-three finish since moving into the main GTC class.
Not to be outdone by his team leader, Engen Xtreme’s Simon Moss in the second #38 Audi GTC has been knocking on the door of victory lane this season, having scored five podium finishes so far. Sitting third in the rankings, just 35 points behind his championship-winning team leader Stephen, the local fan support could potentially be the impetus the 25-year-old needs to make it to the top step of the podium.
Johan Fourie (#14 EPS Couriers BMW GTC) came agonisingly close to his maiden GTC win last time out and will once again be in the thick of the action, as will Robert Wolk in the second Sasol BMW GTC who is determined to make amends for a tough first half of the season.
MVR Racing’s Michael van Rooyen – driving what has become affectionately known as the #97 Rustenburg Rocket – has also endured a tough season to date, beset with small technical issues that have kept him away from the sharp end of the field, but the RSC BMW GTC driver will have a point to prove as he looks to maximize his chances at the coastal circuit.
The front-wheel drive class has been the domain of Keagan Masters and his factory backed Volkswagen Golf GTi, building up a healthy 326 points to date. However, his lead has most recently come under threat from Brad Liebenberg in the #12 Ferodo MINI John Cooper Works, who has impressively won three of the last four races despite the Signature Motorsport team being in its first season of Sasol GTC2 racing.
Trevor Bland (#5 VW Golf GTi) and Charl Smalberger (#15 Indy Oil / iCorp VW Golf GTi) have been consistent all year and find themselves in third and fourth places in the title chase, separated by 62 points. Meanwhile Chris Shorter (#33 Champion MINI JCW) is just four points behind Smalberger and after his podium performance last time out, is in a solid position to snatch fourth on the points ladder from Smalberger should he put a wheel offtrack.
Mandla Mdakane, in the second factory Golf GTi, is a further 19 points adrift. Having won his first race victory at Kyalami in April, the Johannesberg driver has dropped off the pace in the last few outings, claiming only 44 points in the most recent four races.
Iain Stevenson (#69 Comsol VW Golf GTi) is still learning the GTC2 ropes having spent much of his career in regional saloon car categories, however is narrowing the gap to the leading pack, while Dayne Angel (Honda Civic Type R) is expected to make the trip from his home in Cape Town to add variety to the field.
Round 5 of the Sasol GTC Championship will be held at Aldo Scribante Circuit in Port Elizabeth on the Eastern Cape, with Friday July 14 seeing practice and the all-important qualifying being run, before Volkswagen National Race Day on Saturday July 15 will host a fan grid walk before the two main races; race one being 10-laps and race two being a 15-lap reverse grid race. Tickets for Saturday can be purchased for R80 at the gate.
Pretoria, South Africa – Gennaro Bonafede and Michael Stephen took the line honours at the fourth round of the Sasol GTC Championship at Zwartkops Raceway on Friday. Bonafede extended his championship lead while Stephen has taken over second place in the standings as the series nears the season mid-point.
The two races produced high performance competition, with the front-runners racing the 2.4km long circuit two and a half seconds faster than when the Sasol GTC Championship started in August last year.
Qualifying again pointed to how closely contested the series has become with the top six covered by 0.694 seconds, headed by Bonafede (Sasol BMW GTC), a relatively comfortable 0.434 seconds ahead of Mathew Hodges (VW Jetta GTC), Robert Wolk (Sasol BMW GTC), Michael Stephen and Simon Moss (Engen Xtreme Audi GTC) and Daniel Rowe in the second factory VW Jetta GTC. Michael van Rooyen (RSC BMW GTC) and Johan Fourie (EPS Couriers BMW GTC) rounded out the grid after a troubled qualifying session.
From the rolling start, Bonafede fended off a challenge from Hodges in turn one, while Stephen slipped inside Wolk with the rest of the pack in hot pursuit. By mid-race, Stephen edged past Hodges into second place, with Wolk in fourth, closely followed by Moss, Rowe and Fourie. Van Rooyen was forced to pit twice, but rejoined the race each time, ending five laps behind the winners in a strategic move that would see him start from pole position on the race two inverted grid.
When the lights turned green for race two, Moss made a to lead the way around the first lap, followed by Rowe, Fourie, Wolk and Hodges. Van Rooyen suffered a loose turbo pipe and fell to the back of the field within half a lap. Chaos erupted in turn six when Hodges hit Wolk’s BMW, spinning the car around; with a broken wheel the car was stranded broadside across the track so the race was brought under safety car conditions and then red-flagged, but not before the GTC2 field had to take to the grass to avoid the stranded car.
On the re-start, Fourie, Moss, Rowe and Hodges led the way, followed by Stephen and Bonafede. By lap four, Stephen muscled his way past Hodges while Fourie built what looked like a decent lead. Moss ran wide a lap later, letting Stephen and Bonafede through and the chase was on!
By mid race, Stephen was right on the EPS BMW’s rear bumper and the inevitable happened; Stephen swept into the lead and proceeded to open a 1.2 second advantage by flag fall. Bonafede unboxed himself from the back of Rowe’s Jetta and took a fine third behind Fourie. Hodges and Moss trailed the GTC pack across the flag after an exciting and eventful race. Michael van Rooyen made several surgical passes on his rivals only to fall foul of mechanical issues.
Brad Liebenberg (Ferodo MINI JCW) picked up where he left off in East London last month, claiming pole position ahead of his team-mate Chris Shorter (Champion MINI JCW) and championship leader Keagan Masters (VW Motorsport Golf GTi).
The opening race went to script for the Signature Motorsport MINIs, circulating in tandem at the head of the field. Masters, Charl Smalberger (icorp VW Golf GTi) and Trevor Bland (VW Golf) held station until the chequered flag. Shaun Duminy (SMD Ford Focus STI) and Mandla Mdakane (VW Motorsport Golf GTi) clashed in turn five which led to Duminy’s retirement.
Race two got off to a frenetic start; Mdakane led Masters, Smalberger, Shorter and Liebenberg. After the re-start following the race stoppage, Mdakane, Masters, Smalberger and Shorter led the way. The MINIs carved their way through the field, making it third and fourth after lap six; Masters took the lead from Mdakane and a lap later, Liebenberg did the same in a precision move in turn six.. After a race long fight that saw the MINI and Golf race side-by-side to the enjoyment of the spectators, Shorter eventually make it past Mdakane with one lap remaining before flag fall, leaving the fans in the stands cheering and breathless after a closely-fought race.
The Sasol GTC Championship heads to Port Elizabeth for round five on 15th July.
[Issued by Sasol]
Following the engine reliability issues experienced by a number of competitors at Round 1 of the 2017 Sasol GTC Championship at Killarney Raceway, Cape Town, the GTC management team would like to issue the following statement.
After consultation with all major stakeholders, the following three changes have been implemented for Round 2 of the championship at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit on April 22, 2017:
· A new rev-limit of 7,200rpm will be imposed
· The absolute boost pressure has been reduced by 50 millibar from 2150 to 2100 millibar
· The maximum ignition timing will be reduced by 2 degrees
These small changes will considerably reduce the stress on the engines over the course of a race weekend without having a significant impact on performance.
The concept of GTC is to provide “affordable, serious racing” and GTC management remains in discussions with all parties so that it can agree to a long-term solution with two aims:
· Provide race fans with an exciting show which was promised at the inception of the series, and
· Reduce costs to the teams by giving them a reliable engine platform, while continuing to provide a commercially attractive marketing platform for manufacturers.
At this stage, all options are still being considered, from upgrading the existing engines all the way up to an engine platform change.
Since its inception in 2016, GTC has provided some great racing and proven to be popular with teams, fans and manufacturers. The GTC management team is confident that the changes for Kyalami will result in the necessary improvement in reliability and will provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to agree on the optimum long-term solution.
Further updates will be provided in due course.
This past weekend the Sasol GTC Championship held its first round of the 2017 season where several serious engine reliability issues were encountered.
GTC is a category that has been promoted as being “serious, affordable racing” and it was clear from the beginning that the 2.0-litre turbo engines, which were required to secure manufacturer involvement, would need improvement in terms of both performance and their sound if GTC was to be successful in attracting fans back to the race tracks and to build a commercially successful business.
A lot of work went on behind the scenes to make advances in performance so that the start of 2017 would see a marked improvement. These changes needed to be balanced against keeping the category affordable.
The first round in Cape Town has clearly demonstrated that the changes are inadequate.
The situation is unacceptable for all concerned and in particular for the race fans, who deserve far better from GTC.
GTC’s senior management team takes the responsibility of running the category in a professional, entertaining and sustainable way very seriously, and is already working intensively to find solutions.
GTC will continue to do so over the coming weeks with the teams, manufacturers, Motorsport South Africa and commercial partners to bring about meaningful and lasting solutions to improve the sound, reliability and performance of the GTC cars.
Once an agreement has been reached on the solutions, a further statement will be made within the next two weeks.