Super Series roars back to KyalamiComment on this story
The opening round of South Africa's premier circuit racing roadshow, the Super Series, will be run at Kyalami on Saturday 23 March.
Headline acts will include the Production Cars, in which champion Michael Stephen will start his title defence in his Audi S4, aiming to stave off a horde of BMW 335i and Subaru STi drivers.
Class T champion Graeme Nathan will also be back in action in his VW GTI, with usual suspects Gary Formato (Ford Focus ST) and Lee Thompson (Mini JCW) nipping at his heels.
The hard-charging Volkswagen Cup brigade, with a field of identical Polo Vivos, will resume with more dented fenders and rubbed mirrors in store - with Motoring's Jesse Adams taking part in a guest drive courtesy of Volkswagen SA.
New regulations, the return of two marques, and a variety of new rider/motorcycle combinations will put a whole new spin on this year's South African Superbike series
Two separate championships for 1000cc Superbikes and 600cc Supersport machines will be run to international Super Stock regulations - which has prompted the return of Yamaha and MV Agusta to the local racing fray.
But the brand at the top of the Superbike entry list at Kyalami will be reigning Manufacturers' champion BMW, with two brand new HP4 models to be ridden by hot young riders Chris Leeson and Ryan Ottens.
BMW's current South African Superbike champion Greg Gildenhuys will be in Europe this year, competing in the World Superstock championship.
Yamaha will return to local circuit racing under Ricky Morias' Emtek banner, running new R1's for Robert Portman and Dylan White.
The 'official' Kawasaki team will field ZX-10R entries in the hands of Nicolas Grobler, Nick Kershaw and Stephen Steenkamp, while Clint Seller will race a privateer ZX-10R in Brad Anassis' Portable Shade colours.
More confirmed entries for the opening Kyalami race are Colin Lehman (Kawasaki ZX-10R) and Etienne Nelson (BMW S1000 RR).
Veteran Lance Isaacs will lead the 600cc charge on a 'works' Kawasaki ZX-6R - but he'll face stern opposition from former team mates Brent Harran and Cameron Petersen, out on new MV Agusta F3's in Portable Shade livery.
These exotic Italian three-cylinder machines are a completely unknown quantity, and their progress will be watched with great interest
Morais has entered Yamaha R6's for Dean Vos and lady racer Janine Mitchell, while teenager Anthony Shelley will race a semi-works Kawasaki ZX-6R in Shop 74 colours.
Both classes will race on Pirelli rubber this season; riders in the 600cc class are allowed two front and two rear tyres for each race meeting (that's practice, qualifying and two races) while Superbike riders are allowed two front and three rear tyres.
One set of tyres is used for practice, while the other stays on the bike for qualifying and both races, except that Superbikes may use the extra tyre for Race 2 if they haven't already shredded it in practice.
In either case, race day entails at least 35 laps of full tilt boogie, which is about as much as the Pirellis can handle, so tyre management and riding strategy will also come into play at every round as the tyres go off during Race 2.
SPORTS AND GT CARS
The Shelby Can-Ams and V8 Supercars have combined this year and will run under a new SA Sports and GT category. Front runners will include Rui Campos, Ben Morgenrood, Roelf du Plessis and Larry Wilford.
Single-seater action will be covered by Formula VW and Midas Formula 1600, like last year.
Adding to the on-track action will be a Brian Capper trials demonstration in front of the main grandstand, as well as a high-speed display by Strakka Racing Team which will have two World Series by Renault cars at the circuit.
Various lunchtime activities and parades are planned, including a Production Car Grid Walk.
A Kyalami Adrenalin Zone is being created around the main grandstand, with a beer garden and refreshments available as well as a large screen on which racing action will be shown. The pits will also be open to the public, giving race fans an opportunity to get close to the action and meet the drivers.
Entrance costs R120, which includes entry to the Adrenalin Zone. Bikers will pay R120 per bike and a dedicated bike parking area will be provided. Under-12s get in free. Tickets can be purchased at WebTickets or at the gate.
Race fans can also enjoy VIP hospitality in one of the centre circuit hospitality suites. For an entry fee of R250, fans will receive entry to the circuit, access to the lounge, a buffet lunch and a race programme. A cash bar will also be available.