Fans all tuned up for GTC race
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.”
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
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