With just a couple of days before the running of the 2020 Kyalami 9 Hour race it is all systems go for the only wholly South African operation – Team Perfect Circle, which has its sights set on a class victory.
The famous Kyalami 9 Hour was resurrected in 2019. After a long hiatus the endurance event returned to the famous circuit near Johannesburg. The renewed race played host to the top GT3 racers from all over world as the season-finale of the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
After the havoc caused by the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, the series returns to South Africa in 2020 to host its final round on December 12. This will be just the fourth race of a truncated 2020 season that started in January. Previous rounds have taken place in Australia, the USA and Belgium.
Team Perfect Circle was just one of the half-dozen or so local outfits that competed at the 2019 race. The team is the brainchild of motor sport enthusiast and successful racer Andre Bezuidenhout. As an impressionable youngster, Bezuidenhout hung on the fences of Kyalami and watched his racing heroes Richard Attwood and David Piper wrestle the monstrously powerful Porsche 917 to victory at the 1969 event.
The event left Bezuidenhout with one thought: One day I also want to race motor cars. Not only was that dream realised but Andre also became a life-long Porsche fan.
Switch to Saul Hack of Hack Racing, who won the Silver Class at the 2019 Kyalami 9 Hour with his international teammates. For 2020, Andre and Saul will go racing in a joint effort between Hack Racing and Team Perfect Circle under a new banner. They will be joined by international star, Dylan Pereira.
With the blessing of the team’s original drivers, Attwood and Piper, the Team Perfect Circle name was revived in 2019 by Bezuidenhout to compete in the 9 Hour. The new team’s weapon of choice for the event was, naturally, a Porsche.
The 997-generation 911 GT3 R was driven by the fast advocate as well as regular racers and cousins, Silvio and Franco Scribante. Unfortunately, the event ended prematurely for the SA-based team. A number of mechanical issues side-lined the car through the free practice sessions. After a dismal qualifying, the team ran towards the tail-end of the field for most of the race before a gearbox seal eventually called it quits, which removed the Team Perfect Circle Porsche from the running.
Bezuidenhout has not shelved his dream of competing in and, more importantly, finishing the famous race and returns for the 2020 Kyalami 9 Hour.
This year, Bezuidenhout is joining the 2019 Silver Class champions of the Kyalami 9 Hour, Hack and Pereira. They are both regular Porsche pilots in Porsche GT3 Cup series abroad. Hack won the 2018/2019 Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East Pro-Am championship which allowed him to compete in the top-flight Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, supporting Formula 1 races around the world.
Hack raced in the 2019 Kyalami 9 Hour, with Lechner Racing, alongside Dylan Pereira and Nürburgring Nordschleife specialist and Porsche factory driver, Lars Kern. It is not the first time this year that Bezuidenhout and Hack will join forces – they have posted sterling results in the South African Endurance Series where they raced together in a VW SupaCup, beating GT3 cars in their quest for championship honours in the SA Endurance Series.
Bezuidenhout said of his return:” I cannot wait to go racing with Saul and Dylan – I have unfinished business with Kyalami. From that fateful day in 1969 until 2019 the itch remained unscratched. It was a momentous moment when I competed last year but we were denied crossing the finish line. This year with a newer car and better preparation we plan to make a serious assault on the 9 Hour.
“We must thank the FIA, the SRO, Motorsport South Africa and Government, for making the event a reality during this very disruptive year.”
Hack is equally excited:” 2020 has been a terribly slow year for me as I’ve not been able to compete on the international stage. It is a huge privilege to be able to do this race for the second year in a row on home soil given the current economic climate.
“I have been competing in local racing series with Andre so I am looking forward to his reaction when he jumps into the new GT3 R for the first time. I am also excited to have Dylan Pereira joining us as the 3rd driver after his successful campaign in Europe this season.”
Dylan Pereira (23), the Luxembourg-born Portuguese driver was Hack’s team-mate at Kyalami in 2019, so he knows his way around the Midrand track. He Pereira finished runner up in the 2020 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup campaign.
Pereira is looking forward to his return to South Africa: “It has been a tough summer season for motor sport in Europe and I cannot wait to get onto the aircraft to visit my friends in South Africa and to go racing with Saul and Andre. We will give it our best shot.”
For the 2020 Kyalami 9 Hour the trio will be using a Porsche 991.2-generation 911 GT3 R. This is the latest Porsche GT3 racecar available anywhere in the world. Full technical support and trackside engineering will be supplied by Lechner Racing, one of the most successful privateer Porsche racing outfits in the world.
At the time of writing, the Team Perfect Circle/Hack Racing entry, run by Lechner Racing is the only confirmed South African entry competing in the 2020 Kyalami 9 Hour. Motul and Coca-Cola are the main corporate supporters of the team’s entry.
While no spectators will be allowed track side, local race fans will be cheering loudly from their armchairs on race day.