Bumper field set to kick 2018 SA series off

The 2018 Mopar South African Endurance Series kicks off with the Mopar Phakisa 6-hour at Phakisa Saturday 24 February with a strong entry already in place at the time of writing and as many as 30 cars expected on the grid in Welkom come race day. As always, it is never over until the fat lady sings in endurance racing as last year’s race and championship so well proved with several races being decided within minutes — and even a few corners from the finish.

The SA Endurance Series has also grown in quality and quantity over its four years as is clear by the entry list of the Phakisa 6 hour, with former champions and race winners, the cream of South Africa’s racing legend crop and a broad and thrilling field of machinery from Ferraris to Posche, Ligiers to Lotus, Cobras and Ginettas heading to the Free State race and into the five-race SAEC season.

Expect action throughout the field, starting in front where former SA Endurance champions, 2016 race winner Nick Adcock and 2015 race winner Johan Engelbrecht, driving with Dane Michael Jensen in a newly imported AidCall/247 Rico Barlow Racing Ligier JS53 Honda and another former SA Endurance champion Simon Murray and Gavin Cronje in a SMR Ginetta G57-Chevrolet V8 must start as favourites. Do not however ignore Fritz Kleynhans and James Forbes’ similar Comenius Ligier JS53 Honda and Andre Bezuidenhout and double2017 SAEC race winner Franco Scribante’s Juno-Nissan V6, which are likely to prove the main sports prototype competition.

One need not have the fastest car to win either, as Mike Altona and Steve Pickering’s Classic Motorsport Porsche 910 that ended up third in the 2017 title race so well proved, while Stefan Puschavez and Peter Jenkins Nadini GT-Volkswagen should be another factor towards the front.

Class V for 2-litre spaceframe sports racing cars will be the most competitive in Welkom, with a trio of South African-built Nash MVW-Volkswagens driven by Dean and Steve Venter’s TEU example, Andrew Teixeira Jackie and Jody Morrison and Peter Schmidt-Loffler, Anton Muller and Glenton Rebello looking strong. They take on the van Weelly family team of Nicholas and Ronald aboard their eponymous Magnificent Paints & Hardware van Weely Special NR001-Volkswagen Special, SA Endurance regulars Eric Salomon, Dave Sinclair and Hennie Trollip’s Lotus 23-like Team Lessons ELF S06-Toyota, Estelle Vermooten, Gerdus Smit and Klippies Krige in the 7 Boys’ Locost 7 and Josh Dovey and Gerald Wright in the Wright Motorsport Sports 2000 Opel.

A strong GT class has attracted a varied and interesting entry, none of whom can be excluded from stealing an overall win either, in a mouthwatering line-up headed up by GT3 pair Kishoor Pitamber and last year’s race winner Charl Arangies in a Stradale Racing Ferrari 458 GT3, Cape Town father and son team, Marcel and Dayne Angel in an Autohaus Angel Ferrari 458 GT3, Greg Parton and Jaki Scheckter in a Drizit Lamborghini Huracan Supertrofeo and Sun Moodley and visiting Indian driver Manogh Maharaj in a Bigfoot Express Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. GT4 meanwhile sees a star-studded entry in Sarel Van der Merwe, Geoff Mortimer and Greg Mills’ Team Africa Le Mans Ginetta G5 taking on Johan de Bruyn and Peter van der Spuy in a Stradale Motorsport Porsche, 997 GT3 Cup.

GT5 is another keenly contested class, where Durban-built Backdraft Cobra-Toyota V8 trio, a couple of factory Backdraft cars for Trevor Graham and Brian Martin and Mike McLoughlin and Mark Owens, who ended up third in this race last year, and SAEC veterans and last year’s championship’s fifth-placed team, Mike Schmidt and Bruce Avern-Taplin in a new Bateleur Motorsport version look to be the cars to beat. The Cobras take on an interesting Porsche entry in Richard de Roos and Stefan Snyders Audi V8-powered Boxster. 

A South African Endurance race would not be complete without a fierce fight in tin-top category and that’s where SAEC regulars Bradley Scorer and Theo van Vuuren will be looking to go four better on their fourth overall in last year’s championship race in the Arnold Chatz Cars Racing Alfa Romeo Giulietta. They will be kept on their toes by the likes of Steve Truter and Wayne Lotter’s Sasolburg Autobody BMW M3, Hubi von Moltke, Stuart Grant and Jose Vasques in a classic 1976 Mercedes, 280 CE and never ignore Adrian Dalton Wayne Lebotschy’s giant-killing Xtra Clothing & Shoes/Shield Volkswagen Golf 1 GTi or classic racing trio Keegan Ward, Trever Tuck, Patrick Gearing aboard Tuck's former Group N Arnold Chatz Cars Fiat Punto.

Follow the Mopar Phakisa Four Hour via live feeds and updates throughout the afternoon from midday Saturday 24 February South African Endurance Series Facebook page at The Phakisa 6 hour is the first of five South African Endurance Series rounds in 2017 with the Killarney 4 hour next up in Cape Town 19 May, followed by Pretoria’s 9 June Zwartkops 4 hour; the Port Elizabeth 4 hour at Aldo Scribante on 11 August and East London’s 4 hour at the Grand Prix Circuit 23 November.


Issued on behalf of Mopar SA Endurance Championship

What:Mopar 6-hour Preview
Where:Phakisa Freeway, Welkom, Free State
When:Saturday 24 January 2018

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