Despite the 2020 South African motorsport season being brought to an early halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Touring Cars (GTC) Championship will return to racing this week when it heads to Zwartkops Raceway as part of the Extreme Festival.
The opening round of the 2020 season was scheduled to take place in April after the start of what was the National Lockdown, and permission to resume racing was only recently granted in July by Motorsport South Africa, the country’s governing body of motorsport.
On Friday, July 31 the Extreme Festival tour presented a schematic which will allow for three further national race weekends to be hosted, however options for a full GTC championship season as per the last three seasons are will not be possible this year.
As a result, GTC management approached the South African Endurance Series regarding the inclusion of all current GTC Championship and the new GTC SupaCup cars in their championship, which follows the participation of two GTC SupaCup cars which competed in the opening round of the SAES Championship at Zwartkops Raceway on July 24-25.
While GTC and GTC Supacup technical regulations have been adopted into this new class, the SAES rules regarding all other aspects regarding the competition will also apply.
The second round of the SAES Championship will be hosted at the Aldo Scribante Racetrack in Port-Elizabeth on August 14-15, with Volkswagen Motorsport South Africa scheduled to debut their newly launched Golf 8 GTi race car. Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa will also be starting their 2020 campaign in this race.
This coming weekend (August 7-8) will also see the GTC SupaCup field taking to Zwartkops Raceway as part of the first post-lockdown Extreme Festival event. Entrants include reigning GTC2 Champion Brad Liebenberg, while Shaun Duminy will also make a return after his last appearing in 2017. Category newcomers include Jeffrey Kruger, Jonathan Mogotsi, Manogh Maharaj, Saul Hack and Andre Bezuidenhout.
This event, as well as all other sporting events hosted in South Africa during the Risk-Adjusted Strategy of the Lockdown, will not be open to spectators. Acting on this, GTC has contracted RaceDay TV for the upcoming weekend with regular behind-the-scenes inserts being broadcast live from the event. The SAES Championship will be streaming the second round of their season. Both of these broadcasts will also be available on the GTC Facebook page.
GTC Director Gary Formato says he’s confident that the new measures will be advantageous to the long-term growth of the sport, despite the uncertainty around the current year.
“It is a very big step for us to become involved with SAES but from the beginning we said that these cars are designed for longer distances and endurance racing is certainly the proving ground for this,” said Formato. “Roger Pearce and his team have built a very successful series and it is exciting for us to share in this going forward. In the meantime, it is also exciting to have the long-awaited debut of our GTC SupaCup class this coming weekend. We are certainly looking forward to this.”
Fans are invited to keep up with all the latest news and developments on GTC’s website and social media channels.
[Issued by GTC]