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800km, 6 hours...1 race!

2013-10-22 10:06

HEADED FOR SA: Race driver Phillips Panoz stops in the pits during the inaugural Africa 6-Hour endurance race in 2012. The event will return to SA in February, 2014. Image: Supplied

It's coming back! South Africa is set for a second round of international endurance racing with the Africa 6-Hour Race in 2014.

Welkom - International endurance racing will return to South Africa on February 22 2014. Phakisa Freeway, just outside Welkom in the Free State, will host the second Africa 6-Hour Endurance Race.


Endurance racing has played an important role in South African motorsport and the fondly remembered 9-Hour at Kyalami was a round of the Sports Car World championship as far back as 1974. However, due to the fuel crisis during that time, the race was held as a Six-Hour.

In 1983/84 it was again part of the World Championship and known as the Castrol 6-hour. The series eventually became the FIA Sportscar Championship and three rounds were also held at Kyalami in 1998/9 and 2000 with local ace Gary Formato winning twice.

For various reasons, mainly the excessive costs of hosting international events, there had not been a proper endurance race until the inaugural Africa 6-Hour in 2012. Only three drivers will be allowed per car with a maximum permitted driving time of two hours per stint and a break of at least 15 minutes between shifts.


To prevent the same drivers finishing first and second, drivers may only drive one car in the race. This is to prevent a repeat of the Bulawayo 3-Hour in the 1990’s when Gary Kirk and Dave Tingle finished first and second and vice versa after swopping cars at the halfway point.

The 6-Hour is organised by Classic Car Events and led by well-known motorsport adventurer Roger Pearce, who believes there is room for a professional endurance event. Pearce said: “It has always been my ambition to return endurance racing, run to international standards, to South Africa. It was always popular with the public in days gone by and we see no reason why this can’t happen again.

“The current status of National Car Circuit racing in this country is a shambles and we feel that a properly constituted series of endurance racing around the country would be welcomed by the public. We have a five-year plan to bring this series to fruition.

"The event, in due process to become the traditional South African ‘9-Hour’ will be the premier event of the series. We want it to become a round of the World Endurance championship supported by at least three other ‘3-Hour’ events during a season.”

The African 6-Hour is open by invitation to all Saloons and Sports & GT closed-wheel cars complying with 2013/14 technical regulations as published by MSA, or the FIA in the case of LMP1 & LMP2 cars and GTE-Pro and GTE-Am.

In 2012 Duncan and Graham Vos won the event with their Ecurie Zoo Pilbeam MP98 Cosworth, which covered 191 laps or 809km at an average speed of 134.4km/h.

Read more on:    welkom  |  motorsport

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