Bateleur to race Backdraft
Made-in-KZN roadster takes on 34 supercars
‘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.
• 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.
The Bateleur team, (from left) Mike Schmidt, Alan McCullough and Bruce Avern Taplin at the Toyota test track near Eston in KZN.