News And Views From The World Of Motorsport

Autobarn Zwartkops Action

A full action packed 2-day program of racing is set for the 16/17th June for the Extreme Festival at the popular Zwartkops Raceway, 13 great race categories with 2 heats for each offering some of the most exciting racing in the country

The Autobarn SuperHatch goes into its 4th round of the series that has the making of some of the most competitive racing in all the classes, organizers announced a number of additional entries and a full starting grid for all the classes which will as normal see the door to door handle aggressive racing that has been the case in this class since it was created some years ago.

“Going into this next round, we are expecting to be at the sharp end, the competition is going to be tight, but with the setup we have l am really confident that a good result is possible, winter conditions will also be better for the car,” said current A Class leader Brett Garland AutObarn JonneswayHonda.

“I like the circuit and so does the car, so I will be going all out to take overall in both Class A and the overall class win I need a good result to also make up the points overall.” The car is going well and we are well prepared all I must do is keep out of trouble and go as quick as I can. Both Nic Martin and Zane van Zyl have very quick cars they are also good drivers and very consistent and manage to keep out of trouble so they will be another challenge,” said the colourful Garland.

Leading Class A and fourth overall Garland needs to score well in both heats to close the gap on the overall series leader Nic Martin, Zane van Zyl and Andre Dannhausen all class B drivers. Staying in the lead in the major class A is also going to be tough for Garland with Chris Davidson and Tyler Scoot close behind, spectators can again expect some aggressive racing from Johnathan du Toit,who will out for double win after missing round 3 in Welkom. It will surely see the two Honda drivers going head to head for a two heat win

Overall AutObarn SuperHatch series leaders after 3 rounds

1. Nic Martin Class B 59 Points RDG Opel Kadet

2. Zane van Zyl Class B 43 Points Credit Guarantee/JR Panel Beaters VW

3. Andre Dannhausen Class B 41 Points Pro Auto Rubber Opel Corsa

4. Brett Garland Class A 39 Points AutObarn Jonnesway Honda

5. Louis ScholtClass B 35 Points Car Care Clinic Honda Civic

Overall class A leaders after 3 rounds

1. Brett Garland AutObarn Jonnesway Honda

2. Chris Davidson Opel Superboss

3. Tyler Scott Jestic Lopec Opel 200TS.

4. Johnathan Du Toit TAR Honda Civic

McLaren Need A Plan

All options are on the table in order to return McLaren to the front of the grid in 2018, according to the team’s executive director Zak Brown.

After six rounds of the 2017 season, McLaren sits rock bottom in the constructors’ championship with zero points. For a third year running, the performance and reliability of the car’s Honda power unit has been the team’s biggest weakness and rumours of a switch to Mercedes power resurfaced as recently as the Spanish Grand Prix.

The team’s lack of competitiveness this year led to a deal for star driver Fernando Alonso to skip the Monaco Grand Prix and take part in the Indy 500, but with that adventure also ending with a Honda engine failure, the reality of the team’s issues in Formula One are back at the fore. Speaking in Indianapolis on Sunday, Brown highlighted Honda’s power unit as a “substantial” issue and said all options were being considered to turn the team’s fortunes around next season.

Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.
Picture: Zak Mauger/LAT Images

“We’ve got to work through our issues and our issues are substantial in the back of the car,” Brown said. “2018 is not far away, so we are going to have to evaluate how we get to the front of the field, and as Jonathan Neale my partner in racing [and McLaren COO] has said, all options are on the table and we have to get back to the front. We’re not quite sure how we are going to do that, but we are working on it.”

Alonso has already made clear that his main priority is to find a winning car in 2018 and that he will show no allegiance to McLaren if it is unable to deliver. Brown says McLaren has until the summer break to prove it is a viable option for the two-time world champion next season.

“Certainly sitting here right now it looks very difficult imagining us running for the world championship next year. But you can make big progress. We’re trying to figure out how to get ourselves in that position and we’ve got a little bit of time before the summer break.

“Let’s see how the next few months go. And I don’t know about convincing Fernando, he’s going to convince himself whether he feels it’s an environment he wants to race in. I think we’ll let Fernando and the race team do the talking and see how we are in the second half of the year.”

Watch Out For Sauber

Sauber tech boss Jorg Zander believes the Swiss outfit has the means and resources to fight with the mid-field runners this year.

Sauber came close to closing shop last year before investor Longbow Finance was brought in to save the Hinwill-based team by providing a much-needed influx of cash and financial stability.

As it continues to consolidate its foundation, the squad aims to move up the ranks to join the tight mid-field battle, an ambition in line with its assets and resources says Jorg Zander.

“I think we have actually quite a good budget, so we have all opportunity that you can find in other midfield teams to do a decent development and cover those development processes,” explains Sauber’s technical director.

Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia.
Picture: Andy Hone/LAT Images

“So, from that perspective, I think we are not too badly adjusted at all. The way I see Sauber is actually, from the point of talent level, actually quite good.

“We have very experienced people, people have a good talent, they are very competent.”

Zander, whose own experience includes stints with BMW, Audi, Toyota and Honda, believes one of Sauber’s main strengths is precisely the quality of its human resources.

“They have been in the sport for a long time, so I think you may want to look into the economic side of things, which are really decent, but you have to look from a human resource point of view as well, what kind of quality level of human resource do you have available for your developments.

“I think Sauber is actually placed very well in that regard.”

Jermy and Venter Share The Day

David Jermy (Jacquet Racing van Diemen) and Dean Venter (Desco SA / Manitou Swift) shared the wins at the second round of the 2017 Investchem Formula Ford championship after qualifying on the front row of the grid at Red Star Raceway on Saturday, 3 June.

Almost three months after the opening round at Zwartkops, the drivers returned to the track for round 2. Venter, who led the championship after the opening round had to play second fiddle to Jermy in qualifying, ending the session just over four tenths slower than the black van Diemen. Behind the leading duo things were very tight. Defending champion Andrew Horne (Xena Chemicals / Budd Power van Diemen) was next up closely followed by Duncan Vos (Ecurie Zoo Swift) and Jonathan Nash (Matt Nash Motorsport Swift). From Venter in second to Nash in fifth there was just 0.087”. James Reeves (Ray) completed the third row with Paul Schultz (P&P Flosspick Mygale) and Paul Gerber (Pablo Clark Ray) rounded out the top eight.

Picture: Paul Bedford/ Motopress

Jermy grabbed the lead from pole When the lights went out at the start of the first race. He was closely followed by Venter, Horne, Vos and Nash. The five of them started pulling away from the rest of the field. A lap or so later, the leading group split into two with Jermy, Venter and Horne pulling away from Vos and Nash who were fighting over fourth place. Behind the leading two groups Gerber was in sixth, with Schultz behind him followed by a fast closing Jeff Gable (Jacquet Racing van Diemen) who was making his way through from the back of the field after he didn’t set a time in qualifying.

With a couple of laps to go Nash had a spin at the bottom end of the circuit. While he was able to re-join without losing a position, his challenge for fourth was over. On the penultimate lap, Venter made his move and got past Jermy but just half a lap later Jermy regained the lead. They continued nose-to-tail and crossed the line with Jermy in front by half a car length. Horne took the final podium position. Vos finished in fourth with Nash in fifth. Gable eventually made his way up to sixth ahead of Schultz and Gerber.

In race two it was again Jermy and Venter at the head of the field but a spin by Jermy coupled with avoiding action by Venter dropped both of them down the field. Their mishap handed Vos the lead with Horne on his gearbox. Venter was down in third with Gable and Nash rounding out the top five after two laps. A couple of laps later both Horne and Venter got past Vos and started pulling away from the rest. Vos, Gable and Nash were fighting for third while Jermy made his way back towards the front.

With just over a lap to go Horne’s motor lost power and he couldn’t stop Venter moving into the lead, a position he held until the flag. Horne managed to nurse his ailing car over the line in second with Gable grabbing third just ahead of Vos and Nash. Jermy, despite a cockpit covered in hot oil after the sensor pipe ruptured, managed to recover to sixth ahead of Schultz and Reeves.

Venter took the overall win for the day ahead of Horne second and Vos.

Venter has extended his lead in the championship race to nine points over Horne with Jermy a further two points back in third.

The Investchem Formula Ford Kent championship’s next outing is at Phakisa Freeway on 28 July 2017.

Featured Image: Pirelli