South African Historic car racing should see the arrival of a new tin-top competition formula soon, in appearance based on the Touring Car categories of the eighties and ‘nineties.
The category, to be known as the Youngtimers class, is the brainchild of Historic Racing SA chairman Stewart McLarty. It will cater for two-litre or 1600 cc front-wheel driven four-door saloon cars that were in production between 1 January 1987 and 31 December 1996. It will cater for vehicles like the Nissan Sentras and Primeras, Opel Monzas and Astras, Audi A4s, Volkswagen Jettas, Toyota Corollas and Camrys, the Ford Telstar and Alfa Romeo 155, the Honda Ballade, Ford Escort, Mazda Etude, Renault Megane and Hyundai Elantra.
“Youngtimers will look like classic Touring Cars out on track, but they will cost a fraction of what those halcyon race cars did, thanks to simple production-based rules and greatly reduced modifications,” McLarty explains.
Run as a power to weight balanced formula, Youngtimers will be normally aspirated series production cars verified by a HRSA Technical Passport. They can use a same-make HRSA nominated engine and gearbox from that specific brand, but the driveline must remain completely standard. An HRSA approved race unit may replace the car’s original ECU. Original exhaust manifolds must remain, but an MSA noise-legal free-flow exhaust may replace the original pipe along the same route.
Radiators are free in their original position and additional coolers are permitted within the bodywork. Brakes may be upgraded to the highest original specification and ABS is allowed if originally fitted. Youngtimers will race HRSA approved semi slick tyres on 14 and 15-inch wheels. Bodywork must remain completely standard, although an HRSA approved aftermarket rear wing may be fitted and rear and side window glass may be replaced with clear polycarbonate.
No chassis modifications are allowed beyond braces fitted between the top strut mounts and bottom chassis legs, while fenders may be subtly rolled to cater for lowered suspensions. The four doors, boot and bonnet must open and shut as normal and all lights and indicators must work. Cars must be fitted with a full roll cage and MSA required safety equipment.
Until there are enough cars for HRSA Youngtimers to race alone, the series will start as a separate class behind the regular Pre-81 HRSA Saloon Cars. Once there are enough cars to make up a category, the HRSA Youngtimers will compete in a 30-minute plus a lap format off a grid in reverse order of championship positions, with a compulsory pit stop. Driver changes will be encouraged to promote teams of two drivers to share the costs
“Youngtimers are newer than current traditional Historic Race Cars and they represent the fastest growing section of Historic Racing across Europe,” McLarty says. “We had to South Africanise the concept to make it acceptable here, but it seems the class has been a hit with enthusiast racers from the get-go.
“We are aware of six or seven cars already being built over and above our ’95 Mazda Etude prototype build that is now well advanced too. The prototype will be running soon and we will use it to demonstrate the merits of the new HRSA Youngtimer concept to potential competitors and sponsors, while fine tuning to specification and rules,” McLarty concluded.