The current Production Car series is an evolution of Group N, that fabulous local circuit racing formula that drew huge fields of competitors, produced close racing and made heroes and villains in the Eighties and Nineties. Group N was also the reason we have SA-built specials such as the Opel GSi 16 “S” (Superboss) and BMW 325iS.
However, since that heyday of tin-top racing the Production Car formula has become a shadow of its former self – only two manufacturers have any form of involvement in the series, which has led to shrinking fields and lack of interest. (If you haven’t already read it, here is a column that was published in an earlier edition of CAR regarding the state of local motorsport.)
A new dawn
Conveners of the current saloon car formula have just launched a new class, to race in 2015, which it believes will be popular with budding racers and fans alike. Supalites, as it will be called, will cater for hatchbacks of 1 600 cm³, or smaller, featuring forced-induction. Eligible cars include several B-segment favourites including the Ford Fiesta ST, Volkswagen Polo GTI, Mini Cooper, Citroen DS3, Fiat Abarth 500, Audi A1, Peugeot 208 GTI and Renault Clio RS.
While the individual racecars will not be cheap to purchase (they’ll cost in the region of R300 000 each), the series’s rulemakers are trying to limit costs by standardising several components across the field including (but not limited to): the turbocharger, piggyback ECU, exhaust, suspension kit and front brakes.
Manufacturer involvement is key
Fiat, Mini and Citroën have already expressed interest in the series, which is good news for those looking for a good deal on new racecars. Current series sponsor Bridgestone will be providing suitable tyres at substantially subsidised rates.
Supa Production are also negotiating with several other sponsors (including fuel and accommodation) to help alleviate the financial burden to budding drivers.
For more information log onto the Supa Production Car website here.