Rac­ing sea­son back on track

THE MO­TOR­SPORT LAP/ The For­mula One sea­son is about to get un­der way and most teams have un­veiled their 2017 race cars

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Mo­tor News Re­porter

The 2016 FIM Moto 3 World Cham­pion Brad Binder was an­nounced as the Bridge­stone SA-SA Guild of Mo­tor­ing Jour­nal­ists Mo­tor Sports­man of the Year.

He was recog­nised for his dom­i­nant per­for­mance on his Red Bull KTM last sea­son, while Zwartkops Race­way owner, Peter du Toit, was pre­sented with the 2016 Colin Watling Award for ex­tra­or­di­nary con­tri­bu­tions be­hind the scenes of South African mo­tor­sport.

Dakar hero, Joey Evans, who was paralysed in a race crash 10 years ago and fought back to ac­com­plish the im­pos­si­ble dream of fin­ish­ing Dakar 2017 on his KTM, took the Off Track Rider of the Year award, and dou­ble SA Rally and Cross Coun­try Cham­pion Leeroy Poul­ter took the Off Track Driver of the Year prize.

Binder was also awarded the Cir­cuit Rider of the Year Award, while Euro­pean Audi Sport TT Cup racer, Shel­don van der Linde, who won four races — more than any of his TT Cup ri­vals in 2016 — took the Cir­cuit Driver of the Year Award.

Mean­while, 12-year-old Ro­tax World Mini Max Kart­ing Cham­pion, Jay­den Els took the Ju­nior Driver of the Year prize and 15-year-old KTM 390 Cup win­ner at home and in the UK, Brandon Staffen, took Ju­nior Rider hon­ours.

The For­mula One sea­son is only a few weeks away and many fans of the sport the world over have been wait­ing to see the var­i­ous teams’ 2017 cars in their new de­sign liv­ery. Thank­fully, with a change in the FIA guard, there are also some changes to the ve­hi­cles. Th­ese in­clude wider front and rear wings and wider tyres. Mean­while, the side pods have been moved back slightly, while the nose has been elon­gated.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, the V6 en­gines fit­ted to the ve­hi­cles will be made louder in the in­ter­est of bring­ing back the sound that has been lack­ing in re­cent years.

Some of the teams that have un­veiled their ve­hi­cles in­clude Fer­rari, McLaren, MercedesBenz, Red Bull, Re­nault, Sauber, Haas and Toro Rosso. The ve­hi­cles them­selves now look the part and we can only hope that al­lied to the new rules, the sport will once again have fans glued to their tele­vi­sions or flock­ing back to the race­tracks. The open­ing race of the sea­son is March 24-26 in Aus­tralia.

Mov­ing to GT En­durance Rac­ing, South African GT racer David Perel has ex­tended his con­tract with Kes­sel Rac­ing Fer­rari for 2017, af­ter an ex­tremely suc­cess­ful year of rep­re­sent­ing the team in the 2016 Blanc­pain GT En­durance Se­ries. Perel’s achieve­ments in his first year with the team high­lights the racer as the “one to watch”.

“We are in­cred­i­bly happy to have David Perel con­tinue with Kes­sel Rac­ing Fer­rari for 2017. The 488 GT3 is a fan­tas­tic car that we used to win the Blanc­pain Pro-AM Cham­pi­onship in 2016 and I ex­pect David to de­liver a sim­i­lar re­sult this year in the AM Cham­pi­onship with his team-mates Marco Zanut­tini and Jac­ques Duyver,” said Ron­nie Kes­sel, owner of Kes­sel Rac­ing Fer­rari.

Mercedes will be hop­ing its new car can take them to an­other ti­tle this year.

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