MULTIPLE former South African Champion Gary Formato will return to the country’s premier circuit racing formula at the Pretoria Zwartkops circuit on August 2. -

- The occasion will be Rounds 11 and 12 of the 2003 WesBank V8 Saloon Car Championship, during which Formato will debut a Jaguar XR8 under the Auto Trader Magazine banner. The 28-year-old Formato has concluded an agreement to contest this year’s final ten WesBank V8 races with the Jaguar in Auto Trader’s livery. -

- Gary is currently involved in a mad rush to get the car ready for its first local race appearance. The Jaguar was purchased in component form from New Zealand racer Mark Porter, who raced a similar car with success in last year’s NZ TransAm Championship. The components arrived at the Durban docks this Monday (July 14), from where Formato took it by truck to the Auto Trader team’s workshop in Kya Sands near Randburg. Since then the team has been working virtually non-stop to assemble the bits into a Jaguar. -

- “We should have it on its wheels by the weekend and in running shape by next Monday, hoping to give it a shakedown run at Zwartkops during the week,” Formato said. “Then we should be able to test properly, and be ready to race by the weekend of August 2,” he added. -

- The Auto Trader team does not expect their Jaguar to challenge for podium positions at Zwartkops, first time out. -

- “The components are for a New Zealand TransAm car, which does not boast the same bodywork specifications as our WesBank V8 Saloon Cars. We shall not have the time to modify the Auto Trader Jaguar’s aerodynamics before the Zwartkops event - thus, it will have much less downforce than the opposition cars, on a circuit where good downforce is vital,” Formato said. -

- “Even so, the six-litre, V8-engined car will be properly prepared and beautiful - we shall make our presence felt,” he added. -

- Formato said that the team would hone the Auto Trader Jaguar into full fighting fettle before August 30, when the car will make its second local appearance at AA Kyalami. -

- “From August 30 there will be no excuses - we shall challenge to win. I do not enter motor races to make up grid numbers,” he concluded. -

- Formato last tackled a WesBank V8 Saloon Car race in February 2002, when he borrowed another team’s spare Mustang two days before that year’s opening Vodacom Power Tour event at Kyalami. He sat in the car for the first time the Thursday, set the quickest Qualifying lap the Friday, and won both of the Saturday’s races. -

- “It will feel really good to be back in action here - especially with local motorsport veterans like Auto Trader, who understand this Adrenaline Game better than most. Together, we could certainly make a formidable impact on this year’s WesBank V8 Saloon Car title chase,” Formato said.