The Zwartkops track, outside Pretoria South Africa, was ablaze with modified M cars and other exotic metal. Contenders were out to break the fastest times set in the various classes, determined by engine type, horsepower, and driveline options.
Everything from E30 M3s to Ultima GTRs were in attendance and that made for very interesting racing. The track itself has a 2.4km lap with medium to low speed corners, ideal for amateur racing (check out the layout image). The group of guys were from all walks of life and had varying levels of experience. Season campaigners Stuart Kidgell (the Flying Doctor) and Manny Ribeiro were quick from the outset, posting times close to the magical one minute mark. The lap record is a 58.839 pass held by Andre Bezuidenhout in a Dallara F1 Cosworth machine. The Trafoyer brothers had a good showing with elder sibling Mike in his E36 M3 Turbo taking overall honors. The Ultima came in second for the day with Marco Viera rounding off the podium in his E36 M3 Turbo.
The racing was very entertaining thanks to good inter rivalries in the club and a somewhat gung ho approach! TopSpeed got to ride shotgun in a race-prepped E36 M3 baring the colors of Johnny Cecotto for a full session.
Hit the jump for details on the mad ride.
Photos Courtesy: Graham Smith
Usually when donning a helmet, for us, means absolute focus and concentration. This time was different as we were getting ready to occupy the jump seat! It takes a certain amount of bravery and trust to put your life and underwear cleanliness in the hands of someone else, especially if they’re not a pro race driver – we were understandably nervous. Riding in the M3 was exhilarating – the stripped out interior meant no sound deadening, making for a raw all round aural experience! Even though the motor was stock, save for an exhaust, the car really shunted. Semi slick tires and coilover suspension inspired grip and handling on the track. The car in question belongs to a buddy, Farhaad Ebrahim, no stranger when it comes to drag and track racing. His brother, Feroz, in the E30 widebody M3, was hot on our heels for the entire nine lap session, constantly pushing to keep the slower E36 honest. Apart from having our mirrors full of E30 M3, we had to contend with faster cars on track and at times, things got quite hairy. Exiting the first corner, we found ourselves three abreast going into the slow turn two, within inches of a drifting 600HP Mazda RX7 after a communication mix up. After all was said and done, we finished off with a solid 1:14 lap – respectable considering the car was carrying a passenger. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat!