The question will be: Can anybody in GTC challenge the dominant Michael Stephen and his works Audi A3?

Johannesburg - Motor-racing fans can look forward to a new and exciting chapter at the historic Kyalami circuit when it opens its doors for the Motorsport Festival from 21-23 October.

The newly refurbished circuit has drawn a record entry of more than 400 competitors for the three-day meeting, which will feature a top line up of national, regional and club circit-racing events on two and four wheels.

The race meeting culminates on Sunday with the new Sasol Global Touring Cars making their long awaited debut at Kyalami. Eight new GTC cars (two Audis, two Volkswagens and four BMWs) will battle for race victory.

The question will be: Can anybody challenge the dominant Michael Stephen in the works Audi A3?

The recently announced Volkswagen Media and Celebrity Challenges are sure to provide action and a touch of glamour, both on and off track. Race fans will be able to meet the race drivers, media and celebrities on a pit walk at lunchtime on Sunday.

The 28-race programme will also feature V8 race cars in a combined V8 Supercar and V8 Masters field, with well-known names such as Ben Morgenrood, Franco Di Matteo and Larry and Terry Wilford on the grid.

The Extreme Supercars are sure to thrill race fans with a full field of Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, KTM and Lamborghini entries cmpeting on both Saturday and Sunday, with circuit owner Toby Venter, driving his spectacular Porsche 911 GTR, among the favourites - how’s that for home track advantage!

Legends of the 9 Hour

Two invitational races for the Legends of the 9 Hour category on Sunday are sure to bring back memories of the great endurance races held at Kyalami in the 1960s. A full grid of more than 30 historic saloons led by the big V8 Ford, Chevrolet, and Mercury entries will provide a nostalgic touch to the Sunday race programme.

The Volkswagen Cup, VW Challenge, Superhatch and 111 Saloons will round out the tin-top action.

In single seaters, the national championship Formula 1600 category has 16 entries.

There will be plenty of motorcycle racing too from the Kawasaki ZX10R Masters, Thunderbikes, Sub 10 and Silverton Challenge. National SuperGP rider Lance Isaacs (BMW S1000 RR) will start as favourite in the Thunderbikes category, chased by a full field of more than 45 entries.

Media Challenge

Motoring scribes accustomed to writing about motor racing will get a chance to experience the sport up close and personal in a Media Challenge at Kyalami on Sunday, as eight motoring journalists will battle it out in identical Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI hatchbacks.

The Volkswagen Media Challenge grid will comprise Andrew Leopold, editor of za; The Citizen Motoring’s Mark Jones; Bakkie & Car magazine editor Michele Lupini; Sean Nurse, editor of the Autodealer supplement; Janine van der Post of; Mark Smyth, editor of Business Day Motoring; Lindsay Smyth of Ignition TV; and Star Motoring’s own Denis Droppa.

All the scribes have some racing experience, and Droppa will be hoping his two-year stint in Polo Cup racing (way back when in 1997 and 1998) will help him uphold the honour of the Independent Group.

An interesting race-within-a-race will be that of husband and wife Mark and Lindsay Smyth. Rubbing car fenders with your other half could well be the recipe for some marital strife, but Lindsay has simply asked Mark to remember the saying: “Ladies first”.

Be there

The refurbished Midrand facility provides new spectator viewing areas, and refreshments will be available at various locations around the circuit. Tickets can be purchased at Computicket with pre-purchase ticket holders enjoying the benefit of express entry lanes and a reduced entry price.

Pit Lane / Grid Walk tickets are available for both days. The 30 minute grid walk will take place at 1pm on each day to allow race fans an opportunity to see the cars and meet the drivers and riders.

Ticket prices start at R50 for the Friday, and R120 for Saturday or Sunday.

For more information regarding ticket prices, spectator areas, hospitality packages and race programme visit the website.

Follow Denis Droppa on Twitter @DenisDroppa