Why Zwartkops is so special – Peter du Toit

We must always have a purpose in life for with purpose “Passion is born”. Without purpose there can be no “passion” For me my very first memory of life was having a temper tantrum looking out of the back window of a car seeing racing cars flash by. I was four years old and the event was the Germiston street race in 1948. From that day through the fifties and sixties my purpose in life was motor racing. I grew up in difficult, but character building circumstances. My dad died when I was 14 years old, we had very little money, I borrowed money to put me through matric, what money I had made as a young chicken farmer I lost when at the age of 17 I built a racing car which never saw the light of day on a race track. Then a studied at night got my professional qualifications, went motor racing and not only went broke again but found out I was not as brave as my friends. It was only once I established myself that I went motor racing again in 1983!
Through it all I never lost my passion for the sport except that I had experienced frustration. When I attended race meetings I could not see the cars and drivers in the pits – you had to have “pit tickets”. Many a race meeting had no race programs (or very few), public adres was poor – even non-existent, toilets – well you had to go before – no relief at race tracks and then the “line of sight” was mostly poor. How one associated with this as a sport and the arrogance of organizing clubs is a wonder – This is why circuits have over the years alienated themselves from the paying public. Yet I survived as a competitor (which the Kyalami administrators of the eighties and nineties did their very best to destroy the enthusiasm of the participating competitors) and as a family man taking my wife and sons to race meetings. I survived and with a “purpose” to provide a facility which is different and better. This became a passion as my career blossomed and through various business ventures I had the resources to fulfill the purpose.
In 1988 it started in modest way when a few of us rebuilt the Zwartkops Drive-in Circuit. The anti-element in our controlling body and opposition clubs soon put an end to this venture when AA acquired control of Kyalami and effectively closed “Have the size twice the fun” circuit down.
Yet something deep within my soul stirred and there was this purpose and the passion to create a facility which would be of benefit to all South Africans. In the late nineties Corinne and I toured just about all the UK circuits and we came to the conclusion that the most effective circuit in Europe was the Brands Hatch Indy circuit, which is less than two kilometers long. So we came home, and after having the Zwartkops site zoned and with full environmental impact studies done we built the new Zwartkops which opened in 2001.

Zwartkops was born out of passion with purpose to create;

  • The most exciting motoring centre in Africa
  • To be practical and affordable (as best it can be in motor racing terms)
  • An “Arena” circuit, so everybody can see and know what is happening and experience the sight and sound of motor racing.
  • Ensure that the facility has an open plan – assessable to the family man, paying spectator with all the components of racing i.e. man and machine
  • Good ablution facilities – medical, effective event management and public address structures
  • To grow participative motoring, we have created some 14 new formulas over the past twelve years
  • Driver Training, world standard facilities.
  • Karting circuit, skidpan etc.
  • Enable the ordinary citizen on selective days to enjoy driving, with full support – medical and marshals on a high speed course – cars and motorcycles
  • Invite international participants to stimulate our sport
  • Empower all South Africans through ownership, skills development and giving “vision” as to what can be achieved through initiative.

In short Zwartkops has a purpose and its “passion” is participative motoring for all and aspirational motoring for tomorrows champions.

Our vision is focused on the most exciting motoring centre in Southern Africa.

Go here to see more pictures from the air of Zwartkops Raceway

aBr – Words in Action – Published November 2013