As has become tradition, the annual international Passion for Speed extravaganza at the Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria will officially kick off this year’s South African circuit racing season on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The event, to be held for the 18th consecutive year, will boast more than 300 entries, representing 14 separate racing categories on four and two wheels.
The biggest crowd drawcard should be Saturday’s two races for SKF Pre-1966 Legend Saloon Cars, where some of South Africa’s top drivers will take on a visiting team of Dutch contenders in classic V8-powered vehicles.
Topping the entry list will be locals Sarel van der Merwe (Ford Galaxie), Michael Stephen (Plymouth Barracuda), Hennie Groenewald (Mercury Comet), Lee Thompson (Ford Galaxie), Jeffrey Kruger (Chev Chevelle), Jonathan du Toit (Chev Nova), Peter Lindenberg (Shelby Mustang), Mark du Toit (Ford Fairlane), Paige Lindenberg (Ford Fairlane) and Oliver Broome (Ford Mustang).
Representing the Netherlands will be Armand Adriaans (Chev Biscayne), Frans van Maarshalkerwaart (Plymouth Fury) and Herman van Putten (Studebaker Golden hawk).
Saturday’s quickest lap times should be set during the races for Auto Truck & Tyres Pre-1974 International Sports Racing Prototypes.
Heading up the sports car field should be drivers like Larry Wilford (Lola T70), Peter van der Spuy (Porsche RSR Turbo), Neil Lobb (Lola T70), Keegan Campos (Porsche 911 RSR), Jan Kling (Ford GT40), Willie Hepburn (Chev Camaro), Brian Algar (Porsche 911 RSR), Fred Konig (Porsche 911 RSR), Jonathan du Toit (Chevron B8), Andre’ Bezuidenhout (Porsche RSR Turbo), James Dallias (Ford GT40) and Lee Thompson (Ecosse).
The races for SKF Pre-1966 Under Two-litre Saloon Cars will see drivers like Trevor Tuck (Alfa Romeo Giulia), Vic Campher (Volvo 122S), Rob Gearing (BMW 2000 Ti), Chad ten Doeschate (Alfa Romeo Junior), Alan Poulter (Volvo 122S), Ben van der Westhuizen (Lotus Cortina), Marc Miller (Alfa Romeo Giulia), Carel Pienaar (Lotus Cortina) and Francesco Lombardi (Alfa Romeo Sprint) fighting for the podium places.
A large variety of cars will tackle the races for SKF Pre-1966 Little Giants, with Ishmael Baloyi (GSM Dart), Josh Dovey (Austin Healy Sprite), Chris Carlisle-Kitz (Ford Anglia), Jaco Taylor Alfa GT Sprint), Lian Murphy (Volvo P1800), Dion Valentine (Mini Cooper), Jaco Taylor (Alfa GT Sprint), Keith van Heerden (Jaguar D=Type), Greg Moloney (GSM Dart) and Stephen Britz (MGB) among the victory favourites.
Bringing an exciting modern slant to proceedings will be two races for G&H Transport Extreme Supercars, where 31 exotic vehicles will take to the tarmac.
Charl Arangies (Aston Martin Vantage V12) should be the man to beat, with his closest adversaries people like Franco Scribante (Porsche 997 Turbo), Jonathan du Toit (Ferrari F430), Ricky Giannoccaro (Lamborghini Gallardo), Dino Scribante (Porsche 997T), Mark du Toit (Ferrari F430), Deon du Plessis (KTM X-Bow), Franco di Matteo (Alfa GT3), Dawie Olivier (BMW M3 Turbo) and Ben Morgenrood (Toyota Lexus).
Single seater enthusiasts will not be left out in the cold – there will be two races for Historic Single Seaters – 1950 to 1970.
Drivers to watch must include Chris Clarke (Titan Formula Ford), Paul Richardson (Dulon Formula Ford), Blane de Meillon (S&J Mk8 Formula Ford), plus British visitors Alan Baillie (Brabham BT14), Richard Wilson (Lotus 27) and Richard Smeeton (Formula Junior).
Official Passion for Speed main race to be hotly contested
Officially, Saturday’s premier event at the Zwartkops Passion for Speed festival will be the race for Castrol Pre-1968 Le Mans Sports & GT Cars.
The 45-minute race with a mandatory three-minute pit stop will see a variety of vehicles in action, driven by people like Rui Campos (Lola T70 Spyder), Mark/Jonathan du Toit (Lola T70 Spyder), Warren Lombard (Cobra Mk3 V8), Michael Stephen/Jeffrey Kruger (Chevron B8), Peter Bailey (Ford GT40), Tony Maertin (Backdraft Cobra), Peter/Paige Lindenberg (Shelby Daytona), Kenneth Persson (Ford GT4) and Jan Kling (Ford GT40).
The midfield battles should be fought among drivers like Machiel Campagne (Chev Corvette), Djurk Venter (Shelby Daytona), Chad ten Doeschate (Shelby Cobra), Josh Dovey (Ginetta G4R), Thomas Falkiner (Ford Mustang), Kobus Brits (Porsche 911R) and Mark Lauth (Lola Mk 3).
Competitors can decide when to make the pit stop, with some electing to do it on the second lap to avoid the early track congestion.
Others keep the stop until the dying moments, making it difficult to predict the outcome until right at the end.
With 38 cars on the list, the races for Pre-1980 Historic Saloon Cars will boast the event’s largest entry.
Top contenders should include Derek Boy (Chev Firenza Can-Am), Willie Hepburn (Ford Capri), Johann Smith (Mazda Capella), Denzil Bhana (Ford Anglia), Allan Green (Ford Escort), Jannie van Rooyen (VW Scirocco), Darren Goodmanz (Ford Capri), Jason Campos (BMW 328i), Roelf du Plessis (BMW Shadowline), Graeme Nathan (BMW E9), Trevor Tuck (BMW 535i), Seef Fourie (Mazda R100 Rotary), Mike O’Sullivan (Chev SS) and Mario Rossi (Ford Capri GT).
The Midvaal Historic races will feature drivers like Seef Fourie (Datsun 160Y), Shawn Smidt (Datsun 160Y), Regard van Zyl (Alfa Romeo Alfetta), Brendan Parker (Datsun Coupe, Andries Draper (Ford Escort), Derick Smalberger (Ford Escort) and Deon van Vuuren (Mazda R100 Rotary).
Rounding out the programme will be races for the Charlie’s Super Spar Pursuit Series contenders, and the INEX Legends brigade.
Off the circuit, Volkswagen and Volvo will offer spectator interaction with everybody welcome to go on skidpan, karting circuit or 4×4 passenger rides in their products throughout the meeting – free of charge.
DAF Trucks will have seven XF105’s out on circuit, twice during the day at 10h20 and 11h35 where 14 lucky people will be able to go around the circuit in these magnificent trucks built for heavy and on-highway applications.
Watch the DAF and Zwartkops social media platforms to stand a chance to win a seat in the cab. If you miss out, the organizers will be giving away two spots per time slot to lucky winners.
The DAF XF105 weighs in at 8 900 kg, is designed for maximum efficiency, optimal reliability and highest driver comfort and can reach speeds up to 89 km/h. The onboard PACCAR MX engine offers 460hp and 2300Nm of torque from 1000 to 1410rpm.
Whilst these asphalt churning monsters are more familiar with highways than raceways, we look forward to putting them through their paces and giving spectators a chance to get up close and personal with Paccar’s indigenous MX engine and check out the creature comforts and highway manners of one of Europe’s most popular highway trucks.
The DAF trucks on display at Zwartkops Raceway are brought to you by Babcock International Group. Babcock was appointed sole importer and distributor of DAF Trucks in the southern African region in 2010.
The Zwartkops office will be running social media promotions plus lucky ticket draws so lucky winners can fast-track and avoid having to wait in line on event days.
All spectators may visit the pits on foot at any time, with the circuit’s Mini Moke trailer trains running between spectator spots and the pit gate throughout the day.
Official Practice and Qualifying will take place on Friday, the 1st of February with qualifying scheduled to start after lunch at 13:00. The first of three races for the INEX Legends will take place around 13:50 on Friday with the remainder of their races to take place on Saturday. Saturday, the 2nd of February will see a bumper packed with racing expected to start as early as 07:45 with the final race for the day scheduled at 16:45.
Early Bird tickets can be obtained on iticket.co.za or the Zwartkops office (012 384 2299) at R200 per adult and R130 per student.
At the venue gates, full weekend tickets will cost R220 per adult and R150 per student, with children under the age of 12 going in for free.