A new V8 saloon-car racing formula, based on Australia's hugely popular V8 Touring Car series, will come to South Africa next year.
A group of South African racers have put together a deal with Australian company Pace Innovations - designers of Australia's Car of the Future V8 Supercar and New Zealand's V8 SuperTourer chassis - to develop the first African Touring Car.
All the cars in the series will have the same chassis, fitted with a specially-built 410kW V8, a transaxle gearbox and double-wishbone suspension all round.
The bodies will be composite replicas of popular sedan cars such as the Ford Focus sedan and the Chevrolet Cruze, the only difference being the wheel diameter and width, the rear wing and front splitter. Interest in the formula is also being shown by Korean carmakers.
A prototype car - which, from the picture provided, will probably be badged as a Focus - will be demonstrated to potential buyers, who will also have an opportunity to drive the car, with the aim of having a field of 20 cars on the grid by the end of 2013.
“The cars are really fast, and exciting to drive.”
Multiple South African champion Gary Formato drove a V8 SuperTourer earlier this year, and came away impressed.
“I'm sure all the local racing drivers who try the prototype will love it,” he said.
The consortium has approval from Motorsport South Africa to promote the new series and will spend next year building up the formula.
Formato stressed that the series wasn't intended to clash with any current South African racing formula.
“What we are bringing is a cost-effective, spectacular, sustainable way to go motor racing.”
“This concept of motor racing is working all over the world,” he explained. “It provides an opportunity for competitors to drive an exciting, powerful real racing car providing good value for marketing partners and spectacular racing for spectators.”
He added that the formula had international aspirations, north of South Africa's borders.
“Once it's established, we want to showcase the formula in Africa, where we already have interest; it should be a major drawcard - and the television package that's being negotiated will allow countries to promote themselves by running a round of the series.”