The 2016 African Endurance Series races in Gauteng for the first time in 2016 when the Mopar Zwartkops Three Hour races into the evening at the Pretoria racetrack on Saturday 3 September.
The fourth round of the series is shaping up to be another Ligier-Juno showdown, with Simon Murray racing alongside Gavin Cronje in the double-winning Rico Barlow Racing/Aid Call 24/7 Ligier JS49 taking on Francis Carruthers and Johan Engelbrecht’s Harp Motorsport Malta No. 1 Juno SS3, which won in East London last time out.
The Ligier has relied on stealth to take its two wins, with Cronje, Murray and Nick Adcock driving to victory at the Phakisa Six Hours of the Free State, while Murray and Adcock won the Cape 3-hour at Killarney. The Juno has on the other hand depended on speed to achieve its results so far and though it was slowed by niggles in the first two races, it ran like a train to dominate the East London race.
So will the tortoise or the hare come good at tight and twisty Zwartkops?
Well, it may not be that simple. See, there are half a dozen or more cars capable of winning in Pretoria, with Ecurie Zoo Vos brothers Duncan and Graham making a welcome return to the African Endurance Series to defend home honours. And considering both cars that have won so far come from Cape Town, not to mention a third Weltevreden Estate Juno in the capable hands of Andre Bezuidenhout and Peter van der Spuy, the Vos bros will be out to prove a point.
Add three Fantastic Racing Shelby-Nissan Can Ams to the fray – an AidCall247 entry for the ever-competitive Michael Jensen and Mark Lauth backed up by Mike Verrier/Wayne Jardine and Doug MacDonald/Stephan Brink, as well as the Stefan Puschavez/Peter Jenkins’ MI Equipment Nardini to the mix and come the end of the third hour on Saturday, there could well be a new 2016 Mopar African Endurance winner.
Other sportscar entries include Mike Altona and Steve Pickering will be out in the Classic Motorsport Porsche 910, Ferdie Van Niekerk and Gerald Wright’s Wright CC Sports, a pair of Louts Sevens for Team Lessons’ Hennie Trollip and Clinton Thorne and Neil MacLeod’s Just Racing machine.
On the saloon car front, Theo van Vuuren and Bradley Scorer will be looking to get their Mopar Alfa Romeo GT back to its giant-killing ways, while Adrian Dalton and Wayne Labotsky will be after a tin-top double following their incredible victory in East London with the Xtra Clothing VW Golf 1 GTi.
Dewald Brummer and Bevan Williams will however have different ideas with their similar MAD Racing/Fuchs Golf, while series regulars Mike Schmidt and Bruce Avern-Taplin will be out in their familiar Frankies Soft Drinks Toyota Corolla and Andre Dannhauser, Hilton Van Rensburg and Tyler Scott share an Opel Corsa.
“Endurance racing comes back to Gauteng for the first time this year,” Mopar African Endurance Series boss Roger Pearce admitted. “It will make for an interesting challenge racing into the night on the tight and twisty Zwartkops circuit – the perfect mix for another great African Endurance Race.”
The Zwartkops 3-hour starts late Saturday afternoon following a full day’s racing and activity at the circuit from 10am. There will be a flea market, live music, a kiddie’s corner, food and drink for sale, plus a taxi service between the grandstands and the pits throughout the day.