The African 6 Hour Endurance Race
Phakisa Raceway, Welkom, Free State, South Africa
23 February 2013
South Africa has a rich history of endurance racing from the International 9 Hour and Springbok Series meetings starting in the 60’s to the 1000 km races of the 80’s and World Sportscar events of the 90’s. Whilst there have been a number of one off events currently only the Historic racing fraternity continues this tradition on an ongoing basis with a regional series.
In addition South Africa has no International motor racing events on the calendar for 2012 or the foreseeable future. Whilst there is a proposed F1 event for Cape Town in 2013 or 14 this has not yet materialized. Apart from F1, Sports Car Racing has gained huge momentum worldwide with the Le Mans Series and the Le Mans 24 Hours. So much so that these events have been drawn together for a World Endurance Championship (WEC) under the auspices of the FIA and the Le Mans 24 Hour organizers, the ACO, for 2012.
Whilst South Africa cannot expect an instant slot on the WEC calendar, it is possible in the near future. For this reason Classic Car Events (CCE), a registered MSA promoter, has put together plans for an endurance race in 2013, which sits outside of any National or Regional Championships, to begin the process for a WEC round to be held in South Africa.
At present South Africa has only one circuit of recent construction that can meet the requirements for such a race, Phakisa Raceway in Welkom in the Free State. The circuit was built in the late 90’s for Moto GP competition and held successful world championship events but now sees limited use.
CCE proposes to host a 6 Hour endurance race for Saloon and Sports and GT cars from all categories of South African circuit racing on the 23 February 2013. It will, provisionally, be known as the “The African 6 Hour”. Initial discussions with Motorsport South Africa (MSA) have been favorable and positive.
In addition and carrying on the tradition of the Daytona 24 Hours, Rockingham Raceway, Monza and Brooklands, The Welkom 6 Hour will utilize a section of the banked oval circuit which has not been part of any event using the road race circuit. The north west banked section from the exit of the “Boot” complex to the entry to the back straight will have the effect of increasing the circuit length to 4.4 kms and will provide all competitors with an exciting new and unique challenge in South African motorsport.
The use of the Phakisa Raceway will bring a much needed boost to the Welkom area with over 250 competitors and crew expected for the 50 car entry.
Whist all forms of closed wheel circuit racing cars will be invited it will be the first time that this has happened whereby National, Regional and Club vehicles can race for top honours at a single event. In addition every effort will be made to attract International entries for the event. Race fans will be able to finally see which cars rule in South Africa
The race will be of 6 hours duration starting at 14h00 hours and ending at 20h00 on Saturday 23 February with a Prize giving Ceremony on the morning of Sunday 24 February. With an expected 3 hours of night racing Timed Practice will be held on the afternoon of Friday 22 February until 18h00 with qualifying early the next day.
Trophies will be for overall, class and team victories, with a separate Trophy for Index of Performance. Negotiations for sponsorship are underway and it is hoped that such monies can be used to create a substantial prize fund for competitors and provide television coverage.
The organiser is Classic Car Events. The full facilities of Phakisa, including marshalls, medical personnel and administrative staff will be utilised to run the event.
The entry fee is R2000.00 per vehicle. At present only 60 entries can be accommodated.