Fans all tuned up for GTC race

Go! & Express - - CLASSIFIEDS - MATTHEW FIELD

MO­TOR-rac­ing fans are revved up for the East Lon­don leg of the GTC cham­pi­onship that winds its way to the city this week­end.

Sa­sol hosted the me­dia at The Venue, Hem­ing­ways Casino, on Fri­day to pro­mote the event that kicks off to­mor­row.

The race moves on to Port El­iz­a­beth next month.

GTC co-founder Gary For­mato, said in­spi­ra­tion for the tour­na­ment came from all over the world. “We looked to Europe, we looked to Aus­tralia, we looked to Amer­ica, and we said, ‘What's work­ing best’?” For­mato said. In the end, they set­tled on the Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship in Aus­tralia as the GTC's foun­da­tion.

Like the Aus­tralian model, GTC cars con­sist of a pre-built chas­sis with a cus­tom body built around it.

How­ever, there are more lim­i­ta­tions placed upon a GTC car than its Aus­tralian coun­ter­part. “We're go­ing to spec­ify shocks, and spec­ify brakes, just to keep the costs down,” For­mato said.

Th­ese stricter stan­dards are not just about meet­ing bud­gets, how­ever. As co-founder Vic Ma­haraj said: “We [GTC] try and en­sure ev­ery­one has equal equip­ment.” The GTC cham­pi­onship, ac­cord­ing to Ma­haraj, shouldn’t come down to “the size of your cheque-book” but rather the skill of both the driver and their tech­ni­cal team. “Ninety-nine per cent of win­ning the race is in the work­shop,” said Ma­haraj, “so you've got to have a good tech­ni­cal team be­hind you.”

An­other aim of the GTC cham­pi­onship is to en­cour­age more peo­ple to take up motorsport as a ca­reer, whether it's be­hind the wheel or in the garages. While South Africa has a strong motorsport her­itage, it has re­cently ex­pe­ri­enced lag­ging sup­port and which has dis­cour­aged peo­ple from pur­su­ing it fur­ther. “A lot of peo­ple of­ten say: 'So what did you get for win­ning the cham­pi­onship?’ and they [the driv­ers] say, 'Well my tro­phy is over there',” For­mato ex­plained. “But I think the fact that there is now prize money be­ing paid out shows just how far we've come.”

Pic­ture: DEAN HOLMES

REVVED UP: A mo­tor­cy­clist roars ahead of the com­pe­ti­tion at the 20th An­nual Me­mo­rial Mo­tor­cy­cle Race Day at East Lon­don Grand Prix Cir­cuit on Satur­day

Pic­ture: MICHAEL PINYANA

VI­TAL STA­TIS­TICS : An en­gi­neer tunes up his team’s car as they pre­pare for the Sa­sol GTC race which comes to East Lon­don from to­mor­row

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