More SA karters to big leagues
Local racers continue to impress overseas
FOLLOWING hot on the heals of South Africa racers Jonathan Aberdein and David Perel, two more South African racers announced their promotions to the big leagues on international race tracks.
In the U. S., Stephen Simpson is looking forward to more success in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in the U. S. on March 19 following his class win in the recent Daytona 24- hour driving.
Simpson won last month’s Prototype Challenge class in the 24- hour driving the # 85 Hi- Tide Red Line JDC Miller Motorsports ORECA FLM09 with Americans Chris Miller and Kenton Koch, and Canadian Misha Goikhberg. He will once again race alongside his Daytona- winning JDM Miller team- mates in Sebring.
“This is my second Sebring 12 Hours — we finished fourth in the 2014 race and now we head into this year’s race in the lead of the IMSA Prototype Challenge, something we are determined to defend!” he said.
“This year sees the 64th running of the 12- hour — we had a successful two days of testing at Sebring two weeks back, where we spent time developing a new MoTeC ECU system that all IMSA Prototype Challenge cars must now use and which meant we has to get used to a new dash, traction control and live telemetry that the team can monitor this from the pit wall. It was a good test and we are ready for the 12- hour,” added Simpson.
Former double South African karting champion Simpson won on the 2000 SA Formula Ford Championship at age 16 before moving to the UK to start his own race team the following year, where he raced for the Benetton Junior Team.
He enjoyed two strong seasons at British Formula Renault Championship that saw him being chosen to represent South Africa in the 2005 A1 Grand Prix World Cup of Motorsport.
In 2015, Simpson finished third at the Daytona 24 Hours, second in Detroit and put it on pole position at Lime Rock.
In the UK, local karting star Eugene Deneyssen ( 19) will race in this year’s BRDC British Formula 4 Championship with team SWR.
“Deneyssen impressed us when he first tested for us a couple of years ago and again late last year,” SWR team boss Sean Walkinshaw said.
“He’s a capable young man and continues to show great potential — we are delighted to have signed Eugene for 2016.”
Somerset West racer Deneyssen made his kart debut in 2009, winning the Mini Max Rookie of the Year award before taking fourth in the next year’s SA Mini Max championship.
Stepping up, Deneyssen was third in the 2011 SA Junior Max title race before taking double South African and Western Province Junior Max titles in 2012.
Deneyssen also represented South Africa in the Junior Rok, Junior Max and Senior Max Karting World Finals before moving up to the main circuit in the 2014 SA Formula Ford series following that initial F4 test.
He then took a racing sabbatical in 2015 during which he prepared for a return to the UK and another test before being signed as SWR’s first driver in the ultra- competitive British Formula 4 for the 2016 series.
“I do not underestimate this challenge,” Deneyssen admitted.
“Formula 4 is a most competitive and very tough championship and the new car is a big step forward, but I’m sure we can have a strong year.”
Deneyssen is presently in the UK testing his new and faster car for 2016 Taatus- Cosworth BRDC Formula 4 race in preparation for the new season: “Learning Silverstone and my first rest at a rainy Snetterton with snowflakes interrupting the session has all been a really amazing experience,” he admitted.
Deneyssen’s first BRDC Formula 4 race will be at Snetterton in Norfolk, England over the last weekend of March. — Wheels Reporter.
Stephen Simpson ( left) will race at Sebring in the U. S. while karter Eugene Deneyssen moves into British Formula 4.