Sasol GTC racing team ready for new challenge

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Sasol is continuing its championship-winning relationship with SP Racing, fielding a pair of BMW 2-Series GTC racers in the new Sasol Global Touring Car (GTC) Championship.

Running under the Sasol GTC Racing Team banner, Hennie Groenewald – the 2015 Production Car Champion - and Gennaro Bonafede are assured of engineering standards of the highest order as they tackle the new series, which is set to take South Africa by storm over the next five months.

Global Touring Cars is designed to enhance close racing with equally matched cars under a strict cost-containment set of regulations.  Driver aids, such as ABS braking, are not allowed, heightening the emphasis on driving ability.  With 325kW and 600NM of torque under the bonnet, Groenewald and Bonafede are itching to get back behind the wheel of a real racing car, which is set to offer race fans across the country a feast for their senses.

Team Manager Vic Maharaj and his team of technicians are working around the clock to ensure two beautifully prepared 2-Series GTCs are on the grid come raceday.

Team Principal Carel Pienaar is delighted to be entering his 6th season with Sasol as his major sponsor: “Sasol and SP Racing have enjoyed a long and successful association.  It is an honour to carry Sasol into a new era for South African motorsport.  Their drive and commitment to technological advancement is a shared value.

GTC is right for the times, both here and abroad.  I expect to see the formula replicated around the world in the next couple of years, as smaller capacity turbo-charged engines and improved efficiencies are a global trend.  The design and selection of the common components has been well thought out and it gives the drivers a real racing car again, not a road car that has been adapted for racing.

The cars have yet to turn a wheel, so it is impossible to predict what will happen at the first race.  The car set-up requirements and lack of driver aids will demand a different skill-set from the drivers, and the one that adapts the quickest will likely be the most successful.  It’s a very exciting time for us”.

Groenewald is raring to go racing again: “I haven’t raced at all since the end of January, nor have I driven a real racing car for many years, so I’m really looking forward to it.  Not having anti-lock braking, for example, gives me a better feeling of what grip levels I have under braking which in turn helps confidence levels in an overtaking situation.  GTC will be a stern test of a driver’s abilities behind the wheel.

The cars are equipped with one of the best gearboxes available; they have great aerodynamics that generates a lot of downforce which means faster cornering speeds.  We run on slick racing tyres that provide healthy levels of grip.  The chassis is more rigid and the whole package and concept is to create close racing and give the spectators an exciting show.

This is my 6th year as a Sasol brand ambassador; GTC is the most exciting series we have tackled together and I am privileged to represent them”.

Bonafede is equally anxious to get behind the wheel of his Sasol GTC Racecar: “GTC has been coming a long time, and I can’t believe it’s almost ready to get underway.  It’s been six years since I raced a car without ABS brakes, so I’m going to prepare myself by driving a go-kart for a few laps to remind myself what it is like.

This will be my first time competing in a purpose-built racing car and I’m very excited to be part of the Sasol GTC Championship.  I think a key ingredient to success is going to be to find the right set-up for the track as quickly as possible, so that we can concentrate on fast qualifying laps.  I think the fans are going to be in for a treat.”

Sasol has been an amazing sponsor to race for, and I certainly hope to reward them with some victories over the coming months”.

The Sasol GTC Racing Team invites fans to their pit area to chat to the drivers and see the sleek new racers being prepared for the pair of 50km races in which they will compete.

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