After nearly a two-month gap in the calendar, the BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series championship will recommence at Red Star Raceway outside Delmas with Round 3 this coming weekend (21-22 April).
This is the first of two visits to the four-kilometre circuit for the season. It is the only circuit on the calendar licenced to host events in both directions, with the series using the clockwise layout this weekend.
Round 3 will also see the BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series’ switch to the Dunlop Direzza high-performance tyres. This multi-year partnership sees the series becoming the latest in an ever-growing list of South African categories to recognise Dunlop Tyres as the high-performance brand of choice.
Class E competitor Dave Rehse holds the championship lead heading into Round 3, with a perfect score of 40 points accumulated from his four starts this year. However, the grid will include a host of campaigners eager to emerge as the driver to beat after the weekend.
Second on the points table and leading Class A is Leon Loubser. Having finished within the top two in all four of this year’s races, he Is likely to take forward a good score again from the weekend. However, his list of rivals will look different than in the earlier rounds. Carlo Garbini’s car has been purchased by Lorenzo Gualtieri, with the latter possibly moving back to Class B. Paulo Loureiro, who won both the races at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, is not on the entry list for Round 3, while Leyton Fourie will focus on other commitments before his departure to Germany and his first full season in the BMW M2 Cup. William Einkamerer, who had to withdraw from the season opener due to technical issues, will be back in contention and has a good record at Red Star Raceway. This weekend will also see Bob Neill making his debut in the series.
Lyle Ramsay heads the Class B standings for the first time following his maiden double victory and ITOO Driver of the Day award in Round 2. This saw him take a one-point lead over reigning class champion Andreas Meier, with the pair occupying third and fourth place on the overall points table. Meier has since relocated to Germany but will still feature in the 2023 races. Along with third-placed Nek Makris, they have established themselves as regular contenders at the front of the class. Gualtieri should be a contender immediately, with Fabio Fedetto eager to build on his good points payout in Round 2. Rob Gearing, sidelined due to mechanical issues in last year’s penultimate round, will also be back on the grid. Renier Smith, who broke into the class in last year’s season finale, is eager to improve on his four seventh-place finishes in 2023. He will compete in a newly-purchased car that should see him rapidly moving up the pecking order.
Fifth on the overall points table, and leading Class C, is Hein van der Merwe, eager to return to the podium after a challenging second round. He finds himself nine points clear of Jan Eversteyn and Alan Hilligenn, tied on 19 points and one clear of Troy Cochran, with the latter keen to build on his solid form in Round 2. This class is tipped to produce some excellent midfield battles, with reigning series champion Nicholas Fischer, 2022’s Rookie of the Year Dewit Oosthuizen, and recent graduates Bennie Luyt, Bernard de Gouveia, Jaco Storm, Neil Pillay. Vigen Naidu is also looking to move up the pecking order.
Like in the season opener, the grid will be split with separate Class A, B & C and Class D & E races.
Manny Ribeiro heads up the Class D field but will not be turning out in his Dunlop Sport Maxx liveried BMW 330i Touring. Instead, his car will be driven by guest driver Heinz Bose from ATS Motorsport. It is common for guest drives to be given to corporate partners; however, few come with the on-track experience that Bose has obtained through the years. This is in celebration of the beforementioned partnership with Dunlop Tyres, for whom ATS Motorsport is a retail and fitment partner.
That sees the battle for the lead open to five drivers, separated by five points. Reinhard Miller leads Nicholas Herbst, Riaan Lubbe, Shaun Dodd and Craig Herbst heading into the weekend. With Storm’s move to Class C and Ribeiro’s absence, Lubbe, who missed Round 2, will be eager to reestablish himself as the class leader. They will also be joined in their contest by Johan Miller, Neil Reynolds and Class C champion Trevor Long, who now competes in his BMW E36 328i instead of his M3, which he used in 2022.. Lenard Archer is expected to debut in the series, while Theuns Nel will compete in only his third event, his first one at another venue than Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit.
Rehse’s dominance in Class E will be contested by Arri van Heerden, who has accumulated three runner-up spots thus far in 2023. Cobus Bohmer is searching for his maiden win, while Caren Nienaber will return to the series.
Saturday’s races will form part of the Extreme Festival event and are scheduled for:
- 10:50 – Classes A, B & C – 8 Laps
- 11:40 – Classes D & E – 8 Laps
- 14:45 – Classes A, B & C – 8 Laps
- 15:35 – Classes D & E – 8 Laps
The qualifying sessions to determine the respective Dunlop and ATS Motorsport Pole Positions for the two groups are scheduled for Saturday morning.
Spectator tickets can be purchased directly from Red Star Raceway upon arrival. The entire race programme will be broadcast live on the BMW Car Club Gauteng Facebook page and 2WheelsTV YouTube Channel.
Issued by Brandsponential on behalf of BMW Car Club Gauteng
Photography by: Jason Hanslo, Paul Bedford and Reynard Gelderblom
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