The 2013 version of the Pro Tour gets underway at the Phakisa circuit between Welkom and Odendaalsrus in the Free State Goldfields tomorrow (Saturday 16 February 2013). The TAG Heuer Timing Africa Pro Tour Race Day to will feature five separate competing disciplines.
The GT Challenge, which brings together some of the country’s finest and quickest supercars, heads up the racing action. As in the past, the series will be contested in three classes.
Class A will be for turbocharged vehicles, Class B for vehicles like the Ferrari F430 and Porsche 997 Cup models and Class C for less powerful GT cars like the Ferrari F360, 996 Porsche Cup racers and BMW M3 models. Overall defending champion Andrew Culbert (Bigfoot Express Porsche 997 GT3 Cup) will face formidable opposition, starting with Greg Parton (Drizit KTM X-Bow), Nicky Dicks (Pinnacle Turbines Ferrari F430) and Deon du Plessis (X-Cars KTM X-Bow). Other front runners should include Loris Chiappa (Morris Material Handling Ferrari 430), Sun Moodley (Bigfoot Express Porsche 997 GT3), Craig Jarvis (Panacea Porsche GT3 996 Cup) and Willem van der Westhuizen (C3 Consulting Engineers Ferrari F360).
The GT Classic category should see Andrie Bester (Century Civils Porsche 964 RSR) facing off against the likes of Jacques Viljoen (C3 Consulting Engineers P
orsche 911 SC), André van der Merwe (C3 Consulting Engineers Porsche 911 RSR), Vincent Reiche (Logiman Porsche 911 Turbo), Patrick Godard (Porsche 911 SC) and George Avvakoumides (Ocean Basket Porsche 911).
The Hankook Formula Vee category should continue to provide talented young racers with a national ladder of learning this year, while offering spectators brilliant on-track action. Reigning champion Jaco Schriks (Rhema 2) will defend his title against people like Greg Wilson (Reflex Solutions Rhema 2) and Peter Hills (Renexcon Rhema 2). Scott Temple (Rhema 2), who now has Ferodo backing, ended the championhip in third place last year despite only joining the series after the third round and will be looking to improve on that this season. Other drivers to watch should include Gert van den Berg (Rhema 2), Gareth Jackson (Lasersprint Rhema 2), Symm Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2), Alan Holm (Office Direct Rhema 2), Mile Stewart (Direction Management Rhema 2) and Ben Pienaar (BJ Pro Welding Rhema).
The Pro Tour will bring a new motorcycle racing concept to spectators this year. The Red Star Raceway Superbike Masters Cup will cater for Honda CBR1000 and Kawasaki ZX10 models. Limited modifications are allowed to the motorcycles and Bridgestone’s R10 will be the control tyre. The same set of Bridgestone R10s must be used for qualifying and both races on the day. Top riders should include Kyle Robinson (Tech Group Kawasaki ZX10R), Simon Bezhuidenhout (Mechciv Kawasaki ZX10R), Carel Brits (Pro Corn Kawasaki ZX10R), André Denoon (Kawasaki ZX10R), Fritz Kraft (Evolution Honda CBR 1000) and Rodney White-Sharpley (Honda CBR 1000).
The Volkswagen Challenge Series will be run in five classes this season, with more than 40 cars expected. The category will boast a new FSI Class, catering strictly for cars powered by the 2.0L 16V FSI engine fitted with wilder cams and throttle bodies. The class will cater for newer Volkswagen vehicles like the Golf 4/5/6, Beetle and new generation of hatchback Polos. Class A will still cater for the older generation of tuned cars, using the VW 8V Long Block 2.0L modified engine. Top contenders should be Gavin Ross (Norbrake Golf), Carlos Nobre (Digit Polo) and Andy Gossman (Marty’s Golf 2). Class B cars will be powered by the VW 8V Short Block or Long Block 2.0L engine with limited modifications. Front drivers should include Elna Croeser (Giulio Sabbatini Polo), Peter Thompson (Thompson’s VW Golf), Ryan Tholet (Prend Properties Polo) and Darren Nathan. Class C caters for more standard type cars, using the VW 8V Long Block 2.0L engine. Philip Croeser (Giulio Sabbatini Golf), Elke van Vledder (Zip Golf) and Wouter Roos (Time Mining Polo) should be front runners. Class D will be for Citi Golf bodies with VW 8V Short Block 1.6L engines, with a host of youngsters lining up for the season.
The Phakisa gates will be open from 7am on Saturday. Admission will cost R50 per adult, with children under the age of 16 going in for free.