South African race fans will be spoilt for choice this weekend with Sheldon van der Linde doing battle in the Team WRT BMW M4 GT3 in the Intercontinental GT3 Challenge in nine hours of frenetic action at Kyalami, while brother, Kelvin, stars in the first electric Grand Prix on African soil on a street course in Cape Town.
Some 33 of the top International and local GT3 and GT4 race car drivers across four iconic motorsport brands will fight for overall and class victory at the Kyalami 9-Hour, the second round of the Intercontinental GT3 Challenge powered by Pirelli this weekend.
Heading the K9H Motorfest support races will be more than 160 entries across seven racing categories which will provide 12 hours of non-stop track action over the three-day event.
Mercedes-AMG, BMW, Audi and Porsche will all be aiming for maximum Manufacturer’s points in this early part of the season – Mercedes-AMG currently leads BMW by 18 points after the first round.
Team WRT will be hunting for their first IGTC victory with the BMW M4 and have sent a second car for Augusto Farfus, Maxime Martin and factory driver Philip Eng to bolster their chances against a strong Mercedes-AMG contingent who were victorious at the opening IGTC race in Bathurst earlier in February.
Heading the Affalterbach quartet is GruppeM Racing’s all-factory line up of Maro Engel, Mikael Grenier and Raffaele Marciello who are highly motivated to stand on the top step of the podium come 10 pm on Saturday.
Engel has won the FIA GT World Cup while Marciello is the current GT World Challenge champion.
Bathurst winners SunEnergy1 can count on the crack team of drivers Kenny Habul and Jules Gounon who will be joined by 33-year-old Swiss Yannick Mettler. Australian Habul is the CEO of SunEnergy1 and won the 2018 Bronze class IGTC Championship while Frenchman Gounon has twice won the Spa 24-Hour.
SPS Automotive Performance will have Luca Stoltz, Irishman Reece Barr and Miguel Ramos in its Mercedes-AMG line-up. Stoltz was the third winner of the Bathurst 12-hour and claimed his first DTM victory in his debut season last year while Ramos is a former Spanish and Italian GT Champion.
Stradale Motorsport needs no introduction to South African motor sport fans and has been nominated to score Manufacturers’ points for Mercedes-AMG. Their driver line-up includes Charl Arangies, – who has won 12 championships in various categories, Arnold Neveling and Mercedes-AMG ambassador Clint Weston who will be watched with great interest from the grandstands.
Audi will have a strong presence with two Tresor Attempto Racing entries for the experienced all-German crew of Markus Winkelhock, Dennis Marschall and Alex Aka in one R8 LMS GT3 and Italian Mattia Drudi, Ricardo Feller and Audi works driver Patrick Niederhauser in the second R8 LMS machine.
Marius Jackson, who also needs no introduction to local enthusiasts, has entered a team with the reigning SA Endurance Champion 18-year-old Kwanda Mokoena and Toys-R-Us businessman Mo Mia behind the wheel of a MJR Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo 2.
A lone Porsche entry from Australian-based Grove Racing, driven by the Father and Son pairing of Stephen and Brenton Grove, will be joined by the vastly experienced Porsche factory driver Earl Bamber who has proven his speed at Kyalami in the past and also claimed two overall wins, for Porsche, at the Le Mans 24-Hour in 2015 and 2017.
The one-hour race-within-a-race will see three teams take the K9H start and peel into the pits after the first hour.
Heading the entry is the National SA GT AM Champion Sun Moodley in his Bigfoot Express Mercedes-AMG with rival Mikaeel Pitamber in a version of the same car. Pitamber raced in the DTM Trophy last year giving the 18-year-old much-needed experience of GT3 power and aero.
Rounding out the entry is newcomer Joseph Ellerine in his MJR Motorsport-run Audi R8 GT4; the youngster made his GT debut at the end of January, earning a class victory.
K9H qualifying will do away with the previous season’s Pole Shootout and average the three driver’s qualifying times to set the grid. Qualifying takes place on Friday from 15:00 with the K9H starting on Saturday at 13:00.
Heading the support races is the opening round of the GTC Championship where Robert Wolk will be aiming for a third back-to-back championship in his InvestChem Toyota Corolla. Backing him up is his teammate Julian van der Watt in an InvestChem-backed Ford Focus ST.
Toyota Gazoo Racing will debut their brand-new Corolla Hatchbacks for veteran racer Michael van Rooyen and last year’s runner-up Saood Variawa joined by team newcomer Nathi Msimanga in a 2022 Corolla sedan.
Andrew Rackstraw debuts his RDSA/Sparco Volkswagen Golf GTi who will face-off against former F1600 rival Josh le Roux’s Chemical Logistics Audi.
In the GTC SupaCup class, Brad Liebenberg (Hype Energy Drink Polo) will take the fight to Volkswagen Motorsport’s Jonathan Mogotsi in a similar Polo GTi.
Damian and Nathan Hammond (Trinity Protection Services Polo) will battle with Calvin and Dominic Dias (Chemi/Liquid Energy Polo), JP Van der Walt’s Platinum Wheels version, Tate Bishop (Angri Polo), Tato Carello (Carello Auto) and Masters driver Stefan Snyders (Telerex Polo).
COMPCARE VOLKSWAGEN POLO CUP
Entering its 27th year, the CompCare Polo Cup is one of the most open championships in the country. Dawie van der Merwe (Nathan’s Motorsport) will square off against Charl Visser’s Universal Motorsport Polo with teen Jagger Robertson (Liqui Moly) also in the hunt for the title.
Hot rod racer Jason Loosemore, Karah Hill (Kalex), Dean Venter (VDN Auto Cars) and Mo Karodia (Fast 5 Motorsport) and Anthony Pretorius (Bucket List Racing) are likely to scrap for podiums all year long.
Ethan Coetzee (JRT Racing Experience) makes a welcome return and will face Buksi Komane (Nathan Motorsport), Farhaan Basha (QVWi Motorsport), Bryce Pillay (Techtisa) and Shivesh Bissoon (The Steaming Bean).
Newcomers Jeandre Marais (Syrabix), Roshaan Goodman (Upward Spiral) and Nathan Victor (Summit Racing) will face their baptism of fire on the K9H global stage.
MOBIL 1 V8 SERIES
The thundering Mobil V8s are a crowd favourite and will see the defending champion Mackie Adlem going for title number seven in his Adlem Auto Jaguar XKR. Also Jaguar mounted, Franco Di Matteo (Deltec Batteries) will have his hands full with Terry Wilford (Fuchs Ford Mustang) and Julian Familiaris’ Lube-net Chevvy Corvette.
Warren Lombard (Pepboys Ford Falcon) and Thomas Reib (Mobil 1 Chevvy Lumina) will battle against Steve Herbst (PPG Coatings Chev Corvette), Richard Fuller (Idemitsui Ford Falcon), Sten Jarl (Ford Falcon), Auke Compaan (Hurricane Automotive Mustang) and Sam Dahl’s ArcProTech Falcon).
BMW M PERFORMANCE PARTS RACE SERIES
All told, 59 BMWs will take to the track spread across five classes with the overall winner likely to come from the top A class – but not necessarily the champion elect.
Leon Loubser started his year off with a victory as did Andreas Meier in class B. With six other class A rivals, the front of the pack will be action-packed. Paulo Loureiro, Imaad Modack, Rick Loureiro and Carlo Garbini will try and prevent another runaway while 2022 GTC SupaCup champion Leyton Fourie will continue to make an impression after his strong series debut in January.
There are 13 Class B cars that will chase down Andreas Meier’s BMW Super Touring replica. The chase should be led by Paul Munro, Mansoor Parker, Salvi Gualttieri and Lyle Ramsay.
Class C sees Dawie Olivier take on the likes of champion Nicholas Fischer go up against Hein van der Merwe, Vigen Naidu, Shane Grobler, Neil Pillay, Troy Cochrane, Eugene Gouws and another six competitors snapping at their heels.
No less than 18 class D competitors will slug it out for honours at Kyalami. Riaan Lubbe leads the way and will expect to come under pressure from Trevor Long, Craig and Nicholas Herbst, Farhaad Ebrahim, Andre Diedericks amongst a host of challengers.
Dave Rehse leads the class E battle after one round and will find himself in a tough battle with Cobus Bohmer, Craig Rapp, Dewald Smith, Mike Grobler and Arri van Heerden.
WILD ROSE GIN SA SPORTS CAR SERIES
The two30-minute races for the SA Sports Car Series provides a perfect warm-up for the Kyalami 9-Hour. An eclectic array of open sports cars and GT3 machinery takes to the track, headed by three Ligier-Honda JS53s. Mikaeel Pitamber (Rico Barlow Racing), Riaan Botma (Auto Investments) and Trevor frost (Strocam Mining) will vie for the trophies but will be chased hard by the swarm of Porsches, Lamborghinis and McLarens.
Heading the onslaught should be Pieter Zeelie (Speads RS 12) and Franco Scribante’s twin-Hayabusa-powered Chevron B16 and Deon du Plessis’ KTM X-Bow RR.
Izak Spies and Michael Stephen will race a pair of Ultimate Outlaws McLaren MP4-12Cs in class GT A and be chased by Ricky Giannoccaro (G&H Transport Lamborghini Huracan GT3), Sam Hammond’s Trinity Lamborghini Super Trofeo, Nicky Dicks (Curvent Porsche GT3 Cup), Mo Mia (Toys-R-Us Porsche (1 GT3 Cup)) and Franco Di Matteo’s Deltec Ford Mustang.
The GTB class will be a battle between Roy Obery (Haval Edenvale Porsche 997 Cup), Roelf du Plessis (Ultimate Outlaws Chev), Kishoor Pitamber (Creative Ink Ferrari 360) and Richard Fuller’s Idemitsui Ford Falcon.
Philip Meyer (PPLE Group Porsche 924 GTR) will face off with Stefan Puschavez’s Chamdor Installations Porsche 911 RSR and the similar Evapco RSR of Andre van der Merwe.
Single-seater fans will be well catered for with the F1600 and FF Kent races. Antwan and Gerard Geldenhuys should duke it out in their Abacus Divisions Mygales, with Nicholas van Weeley (Magnificent Paints Mygale), airline pilot Andrew Schofield (Flysafair Mygale), Alex Vos (DV Building Supplies Mygale) and Troy Dolinschek (Sujean Mygale) hot on their heels.
Karabo Malemela’s Mygale, Storm Lanfear (AMD Engineering Mygale) Siya Mankonkwana (InvestChem Mygale) and Shrien Naidoo (PX Racing Mygale) keeping the front-runners honest.
In the FF Kent class, look to veteran Ian Schofield (Investchem Mygale) and Duncan Vos’ Swift to lock horns with Rick Morris (Investchem Mygale), Graham Hepburn (Qualipak Van Diemen), Allen Meyer (Investchem Van Diemen) and Ronald van Weeley (Magnificent Paints Van Diemen).
ITOO HISTORIC DEMONSTRATION
Lovers of historic race cars from the Kyalami 9-Hour days of yore will be thrilled with the historic demonstration which includes Colin Ellison’s Chevron B19 and Ford Thunderbolt, Pablo Clark’s collection of BMWs and Ferraris and Evolution2 Motorsport’s BMWs including a classic 635CSi