Undoubtedly one of the highlights on the BMW Car Club Gauteng (CCG) calendar, our Kyalami track and race day, was held on Saturday the 1st of December. Although quite a bit later on the calendar than in previous years, the popularity and thrill of driving and racing on this world class track means that the demand will always outstrip the number of available spots, by far.
This year, being our third time back at the revamped Kyalami was no exception, with 81 trackday entries alone. Going back to our popular historic format of having the club racing series as part of the trackday this year, means there is also plenty of action for spectators to enjoy. Here too we had a record number of entries, with 41 race cars entered for the 8th and final round of the Bridgestone BMW CCG race series, with an overall champion for the year still undecided.
Scrutineering and registration of 81 cars for a trackday is not a quick or easy task, but with eager participants lining up behind the pits from before 6:00 already to get the formalities out of the way, we managed to get all the cars done before the drivers briefing at 7:15. Time trial sessions kicked off at 7:30 with the first cars heading out on track. Due to the vast number of entries, the sessions were divided into four groups, with group one being the fastest, and reserved for stripped out and caged track beasts.
Unfortunately the day was not without its fair share of challenges, with a few incidents out on track, and Eskom’s dreadful loadshedding also rearing its ugly head, trying to ruin our day. Luckily organiser Bernard De Gouveia with assistance from old hand Michael (Sweepy) Broom and the rest of the BMW CCG committee had matters under control, and managed to make the most of what was at times a difficult situation, in order to ensure everyone still had an enjoyable and safe day out on track.
Apart from the time trial sessions and two heats of the race series, there were also plenty of other things to do and see. Auto Bavaria Midrand had their awesome Lifestyle accessories on display, and the BMW CCG regalia stand is always a very popular attraction. Spectators that were keen on exploring what a BMW can do on a race track were also in for a special treat, as the vehicles used for the ever popular hotlaps were some of Bavaria’s finest, with the F80 M3 being the weapon of choice on the day. At only R200 per person for two flying laps, this is really great value for money. Passengers get to experience what these cars are capable of, while going around the legendary Kyalami circuit at full tilt, and in the hands of highly experienced BMW driving instructors.
There was also a special occasion on the day, as EVOLUTION 2 Motorsport, together with Paolo Cavalieri, Peter Kaye-Eddie and iTOO Classics, put some of their very special heritage BMW race cars on display. It was also the first time that the 1986 Winfield BMW E23 745i Modified would be unveiled as becoming an ‘Art Car’ (as it is the canvas for a talented local artist by hand painting an artwork on the rear of the car and the roof). During the lunch interval, the cars were also allowed to ‘stretch their legs’ out on the track, which was an absolute treat to the eyes and ears of the spectators.
After the lunch break and heritage car parade, it was back to the action on track, with the first of the two Race series races for the day. Both of the day’s races were eventually won by Elwyn Steenkamp in his Jeys Consultants/GnH E46 M3 Turbo.It was however the consistent performance by Paulo Loureiro that saw him win both of the class B races, as well as the overall championship for the year. Congratulations on a great season Paulo!
The action in the time trail sessions continued between race heats, and finished off the day with an open session that eventually finished off the day’s action at 6 o’ clock. Race series and time trial participants alike made full use of the available track time, with quite a few cars still on track when the final chequered flag for the day was waived. Fastest time trial lap of the day went to Leon Loubser in his E92 335i, with a time of 1:53.048. Well done oom Leon!
Kyalami is always one of those days that just seems to fly by way too soon, and this year was no exception. With the day’s action done and dusted it was time for Prize Giving, which was held in the John Love area, amongst much hype and banter over the day’s action, while enjoying a few cold ones.
We would once again like to say a BIG thank you to our sponsors Bridgestone and Auto Bavaria Midrand for making this memorable day possible. Without their support we would not have been able to do what we love at a world class venue, and most importantly, in a safe and controlled environment.
Please keep an eye on our website www.BMWCarClub.co.zafor our 2019 calendar, and to see what great events we have planned for the year ahead. Hope to see you there!