The Vodacom 200, which forms part of the Cars in Action Festival of Motoring at AA Kyalami on July 17 and 18, heralds a new era for sports car racing in South Africa with 28 prototype sports cars expected to come under starters orders on Sunday, July 18.

The new series is the brainchild of Brian Cook, himself a former winner of the prestigious Wynn’s 1000 in 1978, Nino Venturi and Mike Shaw who recently formed Sports Racing Association aimed at rejuvenating sports car racing and providing the owners of many competitive prototype cars with a regular opportunity to compete.

“I found that there were a number of existing prototype sports car of various vintages plus a host of single seaters such as Formula Atlantics and Formula GTI’s that could easily be converted into sports cars that were gathering dust in workshops and decided to launch this series,” said Brian Cook. “I have been overwhelmed by the support for the series and the fact that there are 25 entries for the Vodacom 200 is proof that there is a demand for sports car endurance events.”

“There are three classes – SR 1, SR 2 and SR 3 – with the fastest Vodacom Sports Prototype lap time used to determine which vehicles may run in SR 2 while SR 1 is for any vehicle posting faster times than SR 2 and SR 3 for vehicles lapping slower than SR 2,” added Cook. “So far this formula has worked well and the racing in the inaugural Vodacom 100 at Zwartkops in April was fast and furious in all the classes.”

There is no age restriction on vehicles and prototype sports cars that qualify include Chevron, Lola, Tiga, GT40 Replicas, Vodacom Sports Prototypes, Sports 2000 and Porsche 956 such as the one driven by father and son Frans and Ruan Pretorius that won at Zwartkops in April. Single seaters fitted with sports car bodies that qualify include Formula Atlantic and Formula GTI.

The entry list for the Vodacom 200 includes some interesting car and driver combinations.

The leading entry in the SR 1 class is the Porsche 956 of Frans and Ruan Pretorius that was built in 1983 and campaigned in Japan and Europe by the Trust Engineering Racing Team with Vern Schuppan winning the 1983 All Japan Sports Car Championship in this car.

The mighty Porsche 956 will come under pressure from two Radical sports cars powered by Suzuki Hayabusa 1300 engines driven by Bjorn Roos and Hennie de Zinger and Gerrit de Zinger and Corrie Volschenk.

The SR 2 class has attracted seven Vodacom Sports Prototype entries with Trevor Frost, Jonathan Finch, Mark Attieh and Neill Lobb down to drive solo against three formidable combinations in Bernard Tilanus and Michael Ferguson, Richard Wood and Martin van der Schyff and brothers Clive and James Kennerley who will have a third driver in the form of Rob Mills.

The first of the Formula GTI chassis fitted with a prototype body, an ACDSP 104, will be driven by Fernando dos Santos and it will be interesting to see how it performs against the Vodacom Sports Prototypes.

A selection of exotic prototypes such as the Chris Costas Tiga Porsche, Anthony Corin’s Gephard, Riaan Brooks’ Duphed, the Barracuda of Harry Costas and the Automa Sporac to be driven by Cedric Saffy and Roedie Brooks will take on the Isondo Sports 2000 brigade in the SR 3 class.

Brothers Chad and Kearn Francis have teamed up with Devan Moonsammy and Phillip Kekane respectively and will do battle with, among others, brothers Irshad and Riyad Jaffer, Greg Buys and Kurt Wesson and Zenzy Mafokoane and Siphiwe Manqele.

Compulsory pit stops for refuelling, tyre changes and driver swaps will add an interesting dimension to the Vodacom 200, which will be run over 50 laps and starts at 13h30 on Sunday, July 18.

The Cars in Action Festival of Motoring is a weekend for the whole family with numerous other attractions including the Bosal Concours d’Elegance, Concours d’Etat and Tops Only competitions, the Rotax RM1 Race of Champions and GP Junior Challenge at the Kyalami Kart Circuit, Historic Racing Car Register races for Historic Single Seaters, Volkspares Fine Cars, Lotus Challenge, DK Porsche Challenge, Volkspares HRCR Touring Cars and the Historic Motorcycle Group Demonstration on Saturday, the CRRASA Classic Regularity Rally and SAHRA Special Stage Rally on Sunday, ride ‘n drive opportunities on the BMW skidpan and 4x4 course, a Playstation arcade, product displays and a kiddies play area.

A one-day admission ticket costs R40,00 per person and a two-day admission ticket costs R70,00 per person.