Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI to hit South African tracks as GTC race car
Johannesburg - If all goes well, South Africa’s Global Touring Car championship could spring back into action in August, and Volkswagen fans will be able to cheer for a Golf 8 GTI race car.
The new Golf-bodied racer was unveiled by VWSA on Thursday, and it replaces the Jetta that’s been used for the past four years. Since the Jetta is no longer sold in South Africa, due to it no longer being available in right-hand drive, it made sense to base the competition car on something that fans can actually buy.
Win on Sunday, buy on Monday, right?
And what better car than the Golf GTI, which already has a cult following among Volkswagen fans.
VWSA’s Motorsport division will compete in the top GTC1 class with two GTIs, driven by Keagan Masters and Daniel Rowe, the latter having won the 2016 GTC2 championship.
And yes, technically the Golf 8 GTI is not currently for sale in South Africa, but VWSA is promising to have it in showrooms by early next year.
“Even though the Golf 8 GTI will only be officially launched and available from South African dealers in 2021, we wanted to use this opportunity to showcase the Golf 8 GTI's performance attributes ahead of the local market introduction," said VW’s brand head Martina Biene.
The Golf GTI race car features an all-new chrome moly tubular chassis which is much stiffer and lighter than the previous generation GTC car. All GTC cars feature a common chassis, running gear, a single ECU to control performance, tyres, suspension and other components.
VWSA will also be competing in the SupaCup class, which replaces GT2, with a 200kW Polo driven by Jonathan Mogotsi, who was the company’s 2016 Driver Search winner and 2017’s Polo Cup rookie of the year.
So when will racing get underway?
If all goes according to plan, the season could kick-start as early as August, at Zwartkops Raceway, but that depends on a number of factors as VW’s motorsport boss Mike Rowe explains:
"Due to the Covid-19 pandemic we have not been permitted to race and as the Motorsport fraternity we are all hoping that by August, we can get the cars on the track, although it will most likely to be without any spectators," Rowe said.
The start of the official 2020 South African Motorsport circuit racing season is still unconfirmed, however.