Preview: SAGT National Championship Rd 1
Zwartkops Raceway, Pretoria, 4th March
Featuring two one-hour races, the SA GT National Championship makes its debut at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria this weekend (3rd and 4th March) and is celebrating its first birthday by offering free entry for spectators to enjoy the Southern African Endurance Series’ Summer Motorsport Festival.
The 2.4km long circuit west of the Capital city offers a wide variety of viewing opportunities where spectators can set up their gazebos and braai trackside without missing any of the action with fans also having access to the pits to meet the drivers and view the spectacular GT3 cars up close.
Heading the entry list is the reigning champion Silvio Scribante and his Cemza Cement Lamborghini Huracan GT3; the bulletproof Italian machine powered Scribante to 11 podiums in the 12 round championship last year, including five victories, allowing the Gqeberha-based driver to wrap up the inaugural SA GT National Championship with two rounds to spare.
Arguably South Africa’s most successful saloon car racing driver is Michael Stephen who will be out in his Ultimate Outlaws Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo2. The car debuted at the final round last season and Stephen promptly won on his first time out in the Ingolstadt wonder car, so fireworks can be expected at the front of the field as everyone will be out to gain an early advantage in the championship battle.
Aldo Scribante will be looking to put one over on his brother in his Scribante Concrete Lamborghini Huracan GT3; last season’s title runner-up was a model of consistency but with only one victory to his name, the elder sibling will be hunting for more, starting in Pretoria.
Xolile Letlaka has drafted Stuart White into his Into Africa Mining Aston Martin Vantage GT3 – another new car capable of winning the weekend’s races. 22-year-old White raced in the GT World Challenge Europe series last year and is no slouch in a GT3 car. The team await a vital telemetry data adapter from Europe that is needed to run the car. If it does not arrive in time, they will run the McLaren in the GTO class. Either way, they are a serious contender for the day’s line honors in the Pro-Am class.
Porsche is represented by former rally and touring car driver Hein Lategan in his BBR Racing 992 Cup car with an identical Toys-R-Us backed Porsche for Mo Mia, who are chasing the Pro-Am championship.
Heading the Am Class entries is the defending champion Sun Moodley followed by last year’s class runner-up champion Andrew Culbert, the teammates racing pair of Bigfoot Express Freight-supported Mercedes-AMG GT3s.
It will be a case of experience versus youth in the Am class as 19-year-old karter Joseph Ellerine joins the fray in his MJR Motorsport-run Audi R8 GT4. Ellerine will be up against Kwanda Mokoena in an identical Audi GT4 and the fight between the teenagers will be fascinating to watch.
Two GTO specification Pro-Am class Ultimate Outlaws McLaren MP4-12Cs will give the pukka GT3 cars a run for their money in the hands of veteran racers Izak Spies and Roelf du Plessis, and their progress as they hound the newer machinery will set the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons.
Practice and qualifying takes place on Friday with the two one-hour races scheduled for an early start of 07:45 for race one and the second after the endurance race at 15:10 on Saturday afternoon.
Issued by: Eric Buijs – SAES Media Manager
Picture Caption: Silvio Scribante Cemza Cement Lamborghini Huracan GT3
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