Bateleur to race Back­draft

Made-in-KZN road­ster takes on 34 su­per­cars

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - COLIN WINDELL

‘This amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity was of­fered to us quite late, but we are re­ally hon­oured to be rep­re­sent­ing the Back­draft fac­tory.’

EN­DURANCE rac­ing is as much about speed as it is about prepa­ra­tion, plan­ning and strat­egy— and that is ex­actly what the Mid­lands based Bateleur Mo­tor­sport team have go­ing for them when they roll onto the grid for the first round of the 2018 Mopar South African En­durance Cham­pi­onship at Phak­isa on the Fe­bru­ary 24.

This will be the team’s fourth year in the se­ries but, this year they are com­pet­ing in a lo­cally built Back­draft road­ster — mod­elled on the orig­i­nal Shel­bey Co­bra — and pow­ered by a Lexus V8 en­gine.

Back­draft is owned by South African mo­tor sport leg­end and KZN-based Tony Martin, who ex­ports these road­sters from the fac­tory in Prospec­ton to sev­eral mar­kets, but es­pe­cially north Amer­ica.

Martin, himelf a win­ner of mul­ti­ple South African ti­tles as well as the 1983 pres­ti­gious Day­tona 24-Hour in Amer­ica with Sarel van der Merwe and Gra­ham Duxbury, is also a huge sup­porter of the South African En­durance Cham­pi­onship.

“We have com­peted in the Cham­pi­onship for the past four years but this year we are de­ter­mined to get re­sults,” he says.

“Bateleur Mo­tor­sport have demon­strated a pro­fes­sional ap­proach to the sport, which I feel will be of value to our busi­ness and this is one of the rea­sons we of­fered them a car for the 2018 sea­son.”

Bateleur team prin­ci­pal Mike Sch­midt, who is also one the teams’ driv­ers feels pos­i­tive about their chances,

“This amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity was of­fered to us quite late, but we are re­ally hon­oured to be rep­re­sent­ing the Back­draft fac­tory.

“We have had to push hard to get ready in time for the first race at Phak­isa, but we have now given the car a short shake down run and it feels re­ally good.

“We have plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence in this cham­pi­onship and are hop­ing this will work to our ad­van­tage as the year pro­gresses,” says Sch­midt.

“Ex­pe­ri­enced KZN en­gine guru Bruce Avern Taplin is also an in­te­gral part of the team com­bin­ing his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for the teams’ en­gine devel­op­ment with driv­ing du­ties.”

This year prom­ises to be the best yet for the Mopar South African En­durance Cham­pi­onship, which boasts some of the most ex­clu­sive and fastest cars in South African mo­tor­sport.

These in­clude, Lam­borgh­ini, Porsche, Fer­rari, Maclaren, As­ton Martin as well as a host of ex­cep­tion­ally quick spe­cial­ist Sports Pro­to­type Cars.

With 35 cars lin­ing up for round one at Phak­isa, the Bateleur Team and their awe­some Back­draft road­ster will need to be at the top of their game if they are to emerge vic­to­ri­ous.

Race dates:

• Fe­bru­ary 24 — Phak­isa Free­way, Welkom

• May 19 — Kil­lar­ney, Cape Town

• June 9 — Zwartkops, Pretoria

• Au­gust 11 — Aldo Scrib­ante, Port El­iz­a­beth

• Oc­to­ber 27 — East Lon­don GP, East Lon­don.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

The Bateleur team, (from left) Mike Sch­midt, Alan McCul­lough and Bruce Avern Taplin at the Toy­ota test track near Es­ton in KZN.

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