Racers, fans and the public in general are captivated by the return of the African 9-hour endurance race at Killarney, Cape Town 12 December and nothing better typifies the race that reawakens the magic and glory of classic endurance races as much as the stunning list of entries the event has attracted.
Also the finale of the 2015 African Endurance Championship, the 9-hour will see a diverse and most entertaining 32-car field of sports cars, GTs and saloons descend on Killarney with everything from a Le Mans Ligier to a fleet of racing Citi Golfs sharing the 4km strip of tarmac with Table Mountain as a backdrop from midday to nine that evening.
The racing will evoke classic memories for those lucky enough to witness the likes of the Kyalami 9-hours, Killarney 3-hour and other Springbok Series enduros of the 1960s and ‘seventies, while at the same time introducing the magic to a new generation
Heading the entry list published Monday will be super-quick Le Mans sportscars, which will fight it out for both 9-hour glory and the African Endurance crown, with Francis Carruthers and Nick Adcock share the Harp Motorsport Juno SS3V6 they won both the Killarney and Kyalami 3-hour races with earlier in the year with Johan Engelbrecht.
They will duke it out for both race and title honours with Phakisa and Dezzi African Endurance winners, brothers Duncan and Graham Vos in their Ecurie Zoo Juno SSV6, with both lead entries sure to have their work cut out by another pair of Junos with Colin Plit, Dawie Joubert and Mark Patterson sharing a Tricera entry and Andre Bezuidenhout and Peter Van der Spuy in Weltevreden Estate colours.
Other certain contenders for overall honours include the Rico Barlow Racing AidCall247 Le Mans Ligier JS49 and dad Rui and sons Jason and Keegan Campos in the V8-powered Hollard/Campos Transport Shelby. Never discount any of the literal fleet of conventional Shelby Can Ams that include champion Alan Eve sharing with Hanno and Justin Pengilly and no less than four Fantastic Racing entries for 2015 SA Porduction Racing champion Hennie Groenewald, Mark Lauth and Neil Lobb; endurance title contender Mike Verrier, Darryn Lobb and Brian Algar; Donovan Roscoe, Ferdi Van Niekerk and Michael Jensen and Elna Croeser, Jon Wilson and Doug MacDonald.
In a race as long as nine hours, one can never discount the GT entries and with the likes of SA race legend Sarel Van der Merwe sharing the Africa Le Mans Ginetta G55 with Greg Mills and Gunter Drotschie; Charl and Harry Arangies’ Stradale Lamborghini GT3; Mike McLoughlin and JP Bredenhann, and Martin Wright alongside Colin Butcher and Paul de Klerk in pair of Backdraft BDR4000s, Dave Alhadeff and Chris Carolin in a Panoz Esperante and Jeff Gable, James Forbes and David Jermy’s Birkin 7, you have another six plausible winners.
That does not include any of six Porsches including GT3 Cup trio Sun Moodley, fresh from Brazilian GP curtain raiser duty in his Big Foot Express entry; Rajen Naidoo, Tania and Graham du Toit’s Dream Advisory car and Keith and Gary Fourie and William D Luzmore. Other 9-hour Porsches include Stefan Puschavez and Peter Jenkins’ M.I. Equipment 911RSMike Altona, Pieter Zeelie and Steve Pickering sharing a Classic Motorsport 910 and Tim Reddell and Sean Mackay in their Path Plastics 944
Never rule the tin-tops out of unlikely overall 9-hour glory, least of all Theo Van Vuuren, Bradley Scorer and Martin Botha’s Alfa Romeo South Africa GT – what would an African endurance race be without a works Alfa Romeo?
And then there are the hares with a significant field of Volkswagens set to fight out the most competitive class in the 9-hour with a pair of Polos in the Gavin Ross/Iain Stevenson/Derick Smalberger Cosmol Norbrake entry and Chris and Steve Hart in a Tyre Plus car faced with a fleet of older Golfs.
Standout entries among those include experienced Cape trio Ebrahim Levy, Dave Walker and Michele Lupini’s Jive Team Auto Week Citi; Miguel Pascali and Peter Kalpakiotis and Dewald Brummerand Bevan Williams’ MAD Ango Truck entry, Steve, Dillon and Matthew Miller ’s Garagista Beer car and Ronald Janse van Rensburg and Deon Crous all set to take on Mike Schmidt and Bruce Avern-Taplin’s lone, winged Frankies Soft Drink Toyota Corolla.
While entries have officially closed, organisers hint ad one or two possibly thrilling late entries, while some driver line-ups are yet to be finalised.
Killarney will host a festival over the weekend to celebrate the 9-hour race visiting the Cape with shows, rides and entertainment before, throughout and after the race and there will be a pair of single-seater races in the morning where Killarney plans to see a record number of entries racing there too.
The 9-hour starts with Friday practice leading up to the mandatory night session, with Saturday’s track action leading up to the midday start of the big race, which finishes at 9 o’clock, after sunset at 19:30 that evening.
With fastest cars likely to lap the slowest every five laps or so, action promises to be fraught throughout to offer a splendid afternoon and evening’s entertainment – what better way to kick off your Cape Town summer holiday?
Be sure to be at Killarney midday 12 December!