Sa­sol backs pur­pose-built race cars in uniquely South African GTC

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - — Supplied.

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.”

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