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The Michelin Cup Challenge: A unique, high-speed way of combating street racing in SA

2019-06-12 10:20
michelin cup

Image: MichelinCupZA

Creating a safer and accessible car racing experience for drivers and spectators; and safer public roads for all road users. In the motorsport racing world, passion, technology and glamour all converge in the name of thrill.

It’s driven by adrenaline from both drivers and spectators. For drivers, the speed is the ultimate thrill, along with the skills and expertise required to beat record times.

For spectators, communing around drivers and events, adds to the thrill of speed, sound and competition.  

In South Africa, car racing as a sport has long been underground; a mainstay in townships and small cities, driven by speed junkies with little regard to legality.

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                                                                                             Image: MichelinCupZA

The sun was out and our drivers were ready for the Michelin Cup Challenge, in Mid Vaal.

The rush from the sport is the same elemental rush that has driven world-renowned race-track stars. However, because it’s usually done illegally, there have been no provisions to ensure the safety of both drivers and spectators.

‘Street racing’ is done in neighbourhood streets, with the great risk of hurting or even killing people – spectators, residents, passerby’s and even the drivers themselves.

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                                                                                        Image: MichelinCupZA

Its been 6 years since the race was held in Mid-Vaal and the drivers needed to familiarise themselves with the race course

To safeguard lives, while allowing car racing enthusiasts to do what they love in a safer, authorised, better-organised and accessible manner, an above-board car racing league needed to be established. This would meet the need for both legality and safety concerns.

Car-owner communities, Audi Club of SA, Subaru Owner’s Club of SA (SOCSA) and the Renault RS Club convened and organised, and Michelin sponsored what, for seven (7) years now, continues to be known as the Michelin Cup Challenge.

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                                                                                            Image: MichelinCupZA 

The challenge was not a usual race day out, there were dynamites in very small packages

The Michelin Cup Challenge started with 10 cars and currently has 140 cars taking part in the year-long tournament, with legs happening in various locations over 8 months. At the different locations, drivers race the strips, and the tracks using their own regular cars.  

By its very existence, this fixture has addressed a significant amount of traffic law infringements.

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                                                                                       Image: MichelinCupZA

Stakes were high as the race was counter clockwise , which is something the drivers had to quickly adjust to, as this was not their norm

These include offences such as the illegal racing, obviously; speeding, failing to display number plates and registration, use of non-road suitable vehicles, expired or nonexistent registrations and maiming and even death of road users.

There have been a number of racing events already in 2019, and for the rest of the year, there will be four (4) more which will be: in June, the Round 5 Skidpan; in July, the Round 6 Track event; in September, the Round 7 Head 2 Head, and the year will close off with a prize giving ceremony in October.

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                                                                                           Image: MichelinCupZA

A moment to archive a rewarding day in the sun

The winners are chosen based on the performances of their cars at each race and individual performances in their classes. The Michelin Cup Challenge is emblematic of the Michelin’s track to street philosophy – which is that many tyre products from the brand are inspired by technology from the car racing universe. Such innovation, in the Michelin Cup Challenge complements the brand’s safety philosophy, which a driving force at Michelin.

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                                                                                               Image: MichelinCupZA

Once our drivers got the hang of the course, it was all systems go. Adrenelin pumping and spectators cheering from the grand stands.

As the tournament grows, attracting more car racing enthusiasts to participate, street racing on public roads will happen less and less and the streets will become safer for road users. For more details please visit www.michelincup.co.za or our Facebook page on MichelinCupZA.


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