More SA karters to big leagues

Lo­cal rac­ers con­tinue to im­press over­seas

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

PHO­TOS: SUP­PLIED

Stephen Simp­son ( left) will race at Se­bring in the U. S. while karter Eu­gene Deneyssen moves into Bri­tish For­mula 4.

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