The revolutionary new WesBank Raceway is running at full throttle with the completing finishing touches to the world-class motorsport facility. The opening blast-off on 26 and 27 July coincides with the Ford Centennial birthday celebrations, which are to be held at WesBank Raceway. -

- The facility was given the green light after the final Motorsport SA (MSA) track inspection. “I congratulate everyone concerned for putting together this world-class facility with unique spectator appeal in such a short time. The drivers should find the circuit very challenging with its long straight and hair-pin corners”, said Dick Sorensen, who has headed the track inspections for MSA. -

- Most of the visitors to the facility are nothing short of dumbstruck by the magnitude of the project, which has seen the conversion of the old Gosforth Park Racecourse on the Rand Airport off the N3 in Germiston for horses to a much faster form of horse power. Like Ford, the former Gosforth Park Racecourse is 100 years old, as is motor racing in South Africa, which started in 1903 in Sea Point, Cape Town. -

- With over 700 entries, the event is hosting the largest ever number of entries for any motorsport event in the country. 302 entries have been received for Saturday’s national historic race meeting alone, which is double last year’s field. Entries have been done on a first-come, first-served basis, and most of the classes are over-subscribed with drivers coming from all over the country to witness the opening. -

- CONSTRUCTION AND FINISHING TOUCHES-

- The last few weeks has been a scene of frenetic activity with the retail showroom tenants seeing to their finishing touches, signage going up around the track and the cars moving into the motor museum, which will display Ford cars and fashions over the last century. -

- “The Armco barriers are up and our main focus is now to complete the tyre walls, fencing and gardens around the track. The past few weeks have seen a fast and furious pace at WesBank Raceway, with the floodlights going up, paving completed, fibre optic TV cables being laid and both the PA system and timing devices being installed. The building at the small oval is being completed as is the drag strip control tower,” said WesBank Raceway CEO Peter Lindenberg. -

- Several of the Raceway contractors are literally working in shifts around the clock to complete the 4,800-seater portable grand stands for the estimated 40 000 spectators expected on the opening weekend. “Many people such as entertainment facilities, showroom fitters and lighting contractors are now working around the clock to prepare for the opening weekend”, added Lindenberg. -

- SIGNAGE-

- “The major signage around the Raceway has been sold to WesBank and Ford, and the two drag strip lanes have gone to Carnival City and Alfa Romeo,” concluded Lindenberg. Lots of competitions have been planned for the drivers such as the incentive for drag racing drivers by Carnival City whereby if they win all their races in their lane, the driver will win R5,000 in gambling chips. The SASCAR drivers will be enjoying the start of their R1million prize fund for the season. -

- CATERING-

- The House of Bonne Cuisine, who have the catering rights to the facility, are busy updating and refurbishing all the bars and kitchens. -

- “We are right on target with our plans, and apart from having secured brands such as Steers, Sausage Saloon, Upper Crust and Pieman’s Pantry, we will also be opening what will be known as the Jump Start Café. Situated right next to Thunder Ally and the Slot Car Racing track, Jump Start will offer light, fast meals to the predominantly teen market. Five bars will be open for the spectators, with a total of 12 at the facility for VIP rooms,” said Compass Catering director Patrick Blakeway. -

- COMPETITION TO WIN A FORD FOCUS CAR-

- Spectators over the age of 18 with a driving license will have a chance to win a fantastic Ford Focus valued at R150,000 at the opening weekend. Draws for five finalists will take place on Saturday and on Sunday, with the final draw for the fitting key taking place on Sunday 27th. Entry forms available at the gate and at the cars on display. -

- SMART CARD FOR A CASHLESS FUTURE AT WESBANK RACEWAY-

- The designers of the Hand-e smart card system will be assisting, with their multi-application technology, the Raceway to ultimately become a cashless major facility. -

- TELEVISION COVERAGE-

- “We will have four hours of delayed live television coverage on the Saturday and Sunday of the opening on the 26 and 27 July, with a 4-hour repeat on Tuesday 29 June on SuperSport 2,” said the WesBank Raceway marketing director Jan Johnson. Spectators will be able to watch the action on 300 internal monitors over the weekend in both public and VIP facilities. -

- ENTERTAINMENT-

- The entertainment lined up for the opening includes children’s entertainers, abseiling, laser sport, Thunder Ally, slot car racing, go-karting, spectator driving demonstrations on the skidpan and on the 4x4 track, dancing and fashion shows, a Junior and Senior Miss WesBank Raceway beauty pageant, a craft market, tea garden run by the Epworth Children’s Village, the Ford motor museum, air display’s, a Harley Davidson Display, skydiving and stunts by the world street bike champion Rickey Gadson, which are all aimed at entertaining the whole family. The Raceway Dance Club with its 200 square metre wooden dance floor will be open in the evenings till late. -

- RACING AT OPENING WEEKEND-

- The opening weekend will see all of the motor racing facilities being used, with national historic racing taking place on the 2,6km road circuit on Saturday, while the 400m short oval will host sprint car action on the Saturday night. Sunday’s racing will include SASCAR’s first race on the 1 kilometre, banked tri-oval, motocross and 4x4’s on the dirt tracks, while the drag strip will host street racing and action from six-times world street bike champion, Rickey Gadson, and five other top international riders – all of whom are Afro Americans. -

- Circuit racing will dominate with the National Historic race meeting underway on Saturday 26 July. The classes that will be competing are Volkspares Fine cars, Volkspares Historic Touring Cars - classes A to G -, D.K Porsche Challenge, Lotus Challenge and Formula Libres while the classic motorcycles will be out to wow the crowds. Sunday will showcase SASCAR, Drag Racing and Motocross. -

- With so much high-speed action already taking place at WesBank Raceway, the opening is sure to send pulses racing. -

- DEVELOPMENT ON TRACK-

- Two hundred youngsters from previously disadvantaged communities have been trained at WesBank Raceway since February this year to fulfil posts as parking attendants, security, marshals, information guides and emergency evacuation personnel. The best of the students will be given full time positions at the facility, which became a proudly South African company recently. “The Ndebele artwork at our raceway and on our branding, clothing etc will re-inforce our pride in being Africans but at the same time aiming to be the best in the world,” said Lindenberg, who has been instrumental in the successful powerboat development programme, which has been running for ten years. -

- TICKETS-

- Basic admission to the WesBank Raceway for the opening weekend is R40 per day. Admission with seating on the unreserved concrete stadium and on the open grandstands is R50, seating in the Daytona and lower Indy Stadium is R60, and reserved seating at the top of the Indy double-tier stadium is R70. Admission only to the Short Oval racing on Saturday night is R30, and R15 for children aged 6 - 16. -

- Like Disneyworld, WesBank Raceway has a height restriction for admission charges for children, with the exception of short oval meetings. Those under 1,5 metres tall enjoy free admission. Bookings can be made at Computicket. -

- “If spectators purchase their tickets at Computicket, Carnival City will give them their money back in gambling vouchers. All they have to do is collect a flyer at our main entrance at visit Carnival City with their ticket and flyer within a week of our opening to redeem their gambling vouchers valued at R40 – R70, depending on the cost of their ticket”, explained Jan Johnson, the facility’s marketing director. “We strongly recommend that spectators get stadium seating to make the most of their visit”, she added. -

- The parking fee of R10 per car goes to the parking attendants, who will be responsible for looking after the cars. -

- BASIC RULING-

- Picnic baskets will be allowed into the infield and outfield, but not into the stadium area. No alcohol or firearms allowed. -

- DIRECTIONS-

- Off the N3 south before the road splits to Durban and Alberton. Exit 106, Rand Airport Road. Turn left after the offramp into Rand Airport Road and take the first set of lights left into WesBank Raceway