The BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series returns to Zwartkops Raceway this coming weekend (17-18 November) for the 2023 season finale, with the title battle poised to go down to the wire.
The penultimate round at Red Star Raceway saw Reinhardt Miller move to the top of the series points table, with him holding a one-point lead over Leon Loubser. However, with split races and unless Miller breaks out of Class D, the battle between the pair will not be settled within the same race.
There will also be other factors to consider apart from breakouts. With the season consisting of eight rounds, each competitor eligible for a ranking will drop their round with the lowest accumulated score from the two races. Drivers who have competed in less than three rounds will also have their points removed from the final calculation. This will result in scores being recalculated.
Loubser is the only driver to have wrapped up a class title for the year, as any driver who breaks into Class A at this point will only carry through 60% of their points. Loubser has also dominated Class A in both the previous 2023 outings at Zwartkops Raceway. However, dominating Class A does not mean a driver takes the same points. Due to most of this year’s races having seen less than four competitors in the class, a win only counts for eight instead of 10 points. William Einkamerer leads Bob Neill by a single point but won’t be competing this weekend due to his car not being ready following damage sustained at Red Star Raceway. Neill, who retired with mechanical issues on that weekend, will look to finish the season with a second win.
It was a lean points payout for Nek Makris in Round 7, but the same applied to his Class B rivals. He heads up Andreas Meier by eight points, the latter having moved back into second place. Renier Smith has gradually worked his way to the front of the field and has won three of the last four races. Although the series and class titles are beyond his reach, he will look to make it a third-successive race weekend on top of the class. Oz Biagioni must be mindful of 2023 rookie Mansoor Parker, with the latter entering the weekend on the back of three successive podiums. Jaco Storm is another driver to watch out for. Josh le Roux, who has made it as far as the qualifying session on two occasions, will also be eager to put his technical challenges behind him.
The reigning series Champion, Nicholas Fischer, heads up Class C with an 18-point advantage over Anwar Levy, who will also look to continue his fantastic run of form. Third-placed Trocy Cochran is still searching for his first win for the season, while Hein van der Merwe will be a driver to watch for, having won three of the four races at the circuit in 2023. Alan Hillgenn will also be back for the first time since the mid-season round at the circuit. Anand Naidu, brother of the late Vigen Naidu, will also be back after missing the Red Star Raceway outing. Bennie Luyt, whose car caught alight at Red Star Raceway, will return to the grid.
It was at the corresponding 2022 round that Reinhardt Miller made his debut in the series. A year later, he heads up the series points table by one point while holding a 42-point advantage over his nearest Class D rival. But there is still a lot that can happen, as Miller found out two weeks ago when a test day at Midvaal Raceway nearly saw his car destroyed due to brake failure. First and foremost, he should not break out. Even taking a joker penalty will be detrimental to Miller’s title hopes. If there is, however, one aspect that will be in his favour, it’s that by the time he lines up on the Race 2 reverse grid, he will know exactly what will be required to take the title.
Miller can also expect his Class D rivals, particularly Nicholas Herbst, Neil Reynolds, Dave Rehse, and Cobus Bohmer, who are all within eight points of each other in the second-place battle, not to make it easy for him. Pushing Miller to break out twice on the weekend will see this battle being for the class title. Another driver to watch for will be Theuns Nel, who featured prominently at the front of the class in the last round. The reigning Class C Champion, Trevor Long, will also be back on the grid. George Economides will not be in contention to score points, but having won at the circuit in his last outing, he will also be a force to be reckoned with.
Class E’s Arri van Heerden finds himself in a similar position to Miller, with a 38-point advantage over his nearest rival, Dewald Smith. However, if there is any bit of misfortune for Loubser and Miller, Van Heerden will be in an excellent position to pick up the pieces and take the title. The likes of Smith and Jardim will not make it easy for him either. While Mariaan Emmenis will also be eliminated from the final championship calculation, she will look to continue her battle with fellow female racer Caren Nienaber.
The season finale will bring a host of new and invitational drivers. Paulo Cavalieri will be back for the first time since the season opener, this time behind the wheel of the BMW Car Club Gauteng Track Taxi. Shaun Dodd, In Class D, will also return for the first time since Round 2. Debutants include Ferdi van Staden, Jacques Claasens, Jacques Smith and Ryan Naicker.
The BMW ///M Performance Parts race series season finale, which will form part of the Extreme Festival Grand Finale, will see four races:
10:15 – Race 1 – Classes A, B & C – 10 Laps
12:45 – Race 1 – Classes D & E – 10 Laps
14:20 – Race 2 – Classes A, B, C – 10 Laps
16:50 – Race 2 – Classes D & E – 10 Laps
Spectator tickets can be purchased directly on Saturday at the Zwartkops Raceway entrance gate. The entire race programme will be broadcast live on the BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series Facebook pages and 2WheelsTV YouTube channel.
Issued by Brandsponential on behalf of BMW Car Club Gauteng
Photography by: Willie Pretorius
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