ADRENALIN RUSH: Although Audi dominated the previous 2014 Production Car Series Saturday’s meeting at Killarney will give a clearer indication of whether its cars can retain their superiority under the new rules. Image: Colin Brown
CAPE TOWN, Western Province - Tension is rising as Round 2 of the 2015 South African main circuit championship, to be raced at Killarney on Saturday (April 11), approaches.
Topping the bill, the National Production Cars will be seen at track in a virtual one-class format for the first time because the Class T entries received more muscle by being allowed additional turbo boost, larger tyres and unrestricted suspension modification.
The results of the three events during the first round at Zwartkops in March that saw Michael van Rooyen’s turbocharged Chev Cruze win the first race, with Class A Audi S4’s in the hands of Hennie Groenewald and Michael Stephan taking the next two, appear to have justified the changes.
However the pits critics were claiming the superior tyre wear enjoyed by the all-wheel drive Audis was to their advantage and also that Killarney’s less-abrasive surface would be a plus for the smaller turbocharged Chev and Ford Focus ST drivers.
Brennon Green (Golf 5 GTi) is the Cape’s only representative in a new Production Car category for privateers. His main opposition is likely to come from Freek Burger (jnr and snr) who were outstanding at Zwartkops, each in a Mazda 3 MPS.
Then there are some who claim that the young tigers in the Volkswagen Cup events are always responsible for some of the best racing of the day. The driver to watch here is teenager Sheldon van der Linde; though he won the first round up north he was closely shadowed by Tasmin Pepper and Shaun la Reservee, with the Cape’s John Craig jnr not too far behind them.
With a home-track advantage, it’s going to be interesting to see how local hotshots Nian du Toit and Jurie Swart jnr fare in this hard-fought, one-make, category.
The sensation in the first Formula Ford race was the performance of rookie driver and former karter Julian van der Watt who won from Robert Wolk and Matthew Merton.
Unfortunately Van der Watt’s lack of experience showed when a typical Highveld thunderstorm at the start of the second race brought out the wet weather tyres and resulted in him dropping well down the order: victory went to Wolk who was followed by reigning champion Nicholas van Weeley and Dewald Brummer.
Other events during the day are going to feature Crossley and Webb Sports and GT Cars, Midas Sport Clubman Cars and Mike Hopkins Superbikes and there are also going to be combined events for the V8 Masters and Makita Formula Supercars.
While many of the Extreme Festival (to run in conjunction with the race meeting) will be walkabout static, they are also going to include a spectacular display of drifting around every corner of the full circuit, for two laps from noon. And with one left and four right-handers, this should prove particularly interesting.
Another type of movement not normally seen at Killarney will be supplied by a team of radio-controlled model planes and helicopters.
One of the static displays likely to capture the attention of every youngster will be the two Engen Extreme racing simulators, complete with race seats, controls and a viewing screen.
A limited number of spectators will be able to “drive” them in a mock racing situation. There is even the promise of a promo reward for those who acquit themselves well enough. A pair of life-size working dynamometers will be available for more-mature spectators curious about their car’s power output.
The central kart circuit and grassed infield will be an exhibition area for a variety of racing cars and motorcycles as well as classic bikes. For those who love to remember the “good ol’ days”, a number of classic American hotrods and muscle cars will be on show.
The Fan Walk during the lunch break will feature the National Production Cars and their drivers. There will be a display of a different sort by the Jaguar Owners’ Club outside their clubhouse.
The area on the Malmesbury side, but within the boundary of the main clubhouse, will be a children’s playground complete with games and even child-minders.
Exhibitors on the grassed slope in front of the main entrance will include Wingfield Motors, Harley-Davidson, the Engen simulators and various displays of memorabilia.
To facilitate the movement between all these exhibits a (free) taxi shuttle service will be in operation around the circuit boundary, with stops at all the key areas.
The first race due off at 10:10. Admission is R90 for adults, R40 for under-16s, no charge for under-12s. Tickets also available through Computicket.