This year's national circuit racing season kicks off at Phakisa Raceway in the Free State this Saturday, 16 February, with Round 1 of the Pro Tour series.
Headlining the action will be exotic sports car racing, with the GT Challenge bringing together some of the country's finest and quickest supercars, in three classes.
Class A is for turbocharged vehicles, Class B for top sports cars such as the Ferrari F430 and Porsche 997 Cup models, and Class C for less powerful GT cars such as Ferrari F360, 996 Porsche Cup racers and BMW M3.
Defending champion Andrew Culbert and his Porsche 997 GT3 Cup will face formidable opposition, led by Greg Parton (KTM X-Bow), Nicky Dicks (Ferrari F430) and Deon du Plessis in the second X-Bow. Other front runners should include Loris Chiappa (Ferrari 430), Sun Moodley (Porsche 997 GT3), Craig Jarvis (Porsche GT3 996 Cup) and Willem van der Westhuizen in a Ferrari F360.
The GT Classic category will see Andrie Bester (Porsche 964 RSR) facing off against Jacques Viljoen (Porsche 911 SC), André van der Merwe (Porsche 911 RSR), Vincent Reiche(Porsche 911 Turbo), Patrick Godard (Porsche 911 SC) and George Avvakoumides (Porsche 911).
NEW TWO-WHEELER SERIES
The Pro Tour will host a new Superbike racing category this year as the ZX-10R series gives way to the Red Star Raceway Superbike Masters Cup.
The new formula caters for Honda CBR1000RR and Kawasaki ZX-10R superbikes; 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 will include Kyle Robinson (Kawasaki ZX-10R), Simon Bezhuidenhout (Kawasaki ZX-10R), Carel Brits (Kawasaki ZX-10R), André Denoon (Kawasaki ZX10R) and Honda Fireblade riders Fritz Kraft and Rodney White-Sharpley.
This entry-level single-seater series will continue to provide talented young racers with a national ladder of learning, while offering spectators brilliant on-track action. Reigning champion Jaco Schriks (Rhema 2) will defend his title against Greg Wilson (Rhema 2), Scott Temple (Rhema 2) and Peter Hills (Rhema 2).
Other drivers to watch should include Gert van den Berg (Rhema 2), Gareth Jackson (Rhema 2), Symm Grobler (Rhema 2), Alan Holm (Rhema 2), Mile Stewart (Rhema 2) and Ben Pienaar (Rhema).
The Volkswagen Challenge series will be run in five classes this season, with more than 40 entries expected. The category will include a new FSI Class, catering for cars powered by two-litre, 16-valve FSI engines fitted with wilder cams and modified throttle bodies, such as newer Volkswagen vehicles like the Golf 5 and 6, new Beetle and current-generation Polo hatch.
Class A will still cater for the older generation of tuned cars using modified versions of Volkswagen's eight-valve long-block two-litre engine. Top contenders will include Gavin Ross (Golf), Carlos Nobre (Polo) and Andy Gossman (Golf 2).
Class B cars will be those powered by the Volkswagen eight-valve short-block or long-block two-litre engine with limited modifications, featuring Elna Croeser (Polo), Peter Thompson (Golf), Ryan Tholet (Polo) and Darren Nathan.
Class C caters for standard cars using the eight-valve, long-block two-litre engine - look out for Philip Croeser (Golf), Elke van Vledder (Golf) and Wouter Roos (Polo) - Class D is for Citi Golf bodies with eight-valve short-block 1.6-litre engines.
There are a host of new names entered for this class, mostly keen youngsters with limited experience so anything could happen and probably will.