Pheladi Sethusa and Alex Mitchely
2 minute read
24 Jul 2014
2:04 pm

Kyalami race track sold for R205 million

Pheladi Sethusa and Alex Mitchely

The historic Kyalami race track may remain as a beacon of the motor industry as it was bought by Porsche South Africa for R205 million on Thursday afternoon.

A general view of the Kyalami race track on July 23, 2014 a day before it will go up for auction in Johannesburg, South Africa. The circuit hosted its last international competition in May 2010 with the sixth race of the World Superbike Championship. AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

Lance Chalwin-Milton, Joint MD at High Street Auctions said because of this buyer it is likely that the property would “remain in the industry.”

He added that the successful bidder will indeed have bought a piece of South African and international motor racing history.

The auction, which lasted only around one minute and 50 seconds, fetched the highest price for a single lot in South African history.

High Street Auction Company lead auctioneer Joff van Reenen said the opening bid of R200m was decided on by the bidders.

“I hope he meant 200 million, he held up two fingers,” he said.

Lot 25, the farm Bothasfontein, better known as Kyalami, is a 72 hectare property in Midrand.

There was a R4m registration fee to participate in the auction and this would be refunded to unsuccessful bidders.

Chalwin-Milton said he could not comment on rumours that Richard Branson of Virgin was one of the other bidders for the race track. He expressed satisfaction that the track would remain in the South African motorsport industry.

A 15 percent deposit was required, but there would be no buyer’s commission on the deal as it was sold under liquidation.

The Kyalami circuit first opened in 1961 and played host to the first South African Grand Prix in 1967 where Mexican Pedro Rodriguez won after South African John Love nearly won but had fuel problems late into the race.

One of the most famous races held at Kyalami was the 1977 South African Grand Prix, remembered for the fatal accident that claimed the lives of race marshal Frederick Jansen van Vuuren and driver Tom Pryce.

The most recent event was the Superbike championship in 2010.

Political sanctions caused the shutdown of the Grand Prix following the 1985 race. It was rebuilt in the early 1990s as part of a commercial development and changed again after Formula One abandoned the rebuilt circuit in 1993.

– additional reporting by Sapa