Sasol backs purpose-built race cars in uniquely South African GTC
THE eagerly anticipated Global Touring Car Championship (GTC) will now be called the Sasol GTC Championship. This follows Sasol’s agreement to be the series sponsor, the official fuel supplier and TV broadcast sponsor to the series.
The Sasol GTC Championship consists of seven rounds this year with each race day featuring two 50 km races per round. Each race will be broadcast on SuperSport in a 52-minute programme.
GTC is a uniquely South African racing series, combining the best elements from various successful saloon car racing series from across the globe including the British Tour Car Championship, Australian V8 Supercars and the German DTM series. These elements were combined and adapted to appeal to manufacturers in the South African market, and GTC was born.
BIG BRANDS, BIG SPEEDS
The Sasol GTC Championship has already attracted entries from BMW, Volkswagen and Audi, with additional manufacturers set to join the series in 2017. The cars feature two-litre, turbo-charged engines developing 325 kW and 600 NM of torque. Drive is through the rearwheels to common specification running gear across all brands.
Regulated components include the gearbox, brakes, shock absorbers and suspension.
GTC anticipates the cars will reach 280 km/h at fast tracks like East London, while providing a visual and aural feast for spectators and TV audiences alike, with turbo-crackle and flames spitting out of the exhaust under braking.
A major aspect of GTC is rule stability for five years, with development banned to eliminate “cheque-book” racing; this will allow privateers to compete with the manufacturer teams with identical equipment.
The founding principle of GTC racing is to highlight driving and engineering talent, to extract every last 10th of a second from the car.
FAIR PLAY ALL ROUND
Ian Scheckter has been appointed as the driving conduct official, and the experienced Wammy Haddad and Kosie Swanepoel will officiate as the technical controllers.
Another feature of the series is GTC Production, an entry-level class featuring standard, frontwheel drive cars with two-litre, turbo-charged engines, producing just over 200 kW. Five of these cars are scheduled to make their debut at Zwartkops.
The class is designed to attract young racers from junior racing categories, and act as a feeder series to Global Touring Cars.
Senior vice president of Sasol Energy, Ed Cameron, said the GTC offers a unique product marketing opportunity linked to global technology and innovation. “Racing is a proven testing ground for developing advanced fuel and lubricant products for the consumer and helps keep Sasol at the forefront of the petrochemical industry. Our association with this exciting new initiative adds excitement for our employees and stakeholders at every level. The series is a perfect match to Sasol’s products and mirrors our ethos and commitment to transparency and fair play in our business conduct.”
Gary Formato, GTC founder and former motor racing champion, said the GTC series is tailor-made and uniquely South African. “The rule stability and tight cost control makes it appealing to manufacturers and competitors, while giving race fans renewed enthusiasm for motorsport in general.
“It is the first time in 20 years that drivers have a bespoke, purpose-built race car to compete with. We are privileged to have a company of Sasol’s calibre on board. GTC looks forward to a long and rewarding partnership in the years ahead.”