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World championship go-karting track opens in Johannesburg

Aerial shot of Formula K track. Credit: Formula K

South Africa’s premier high-end short circuit racing track has opened in Benoni, on Gauteng’s East Rand. The official opening took place on Friday, November 15.

The Formula K Circuit in Benoni is South Africa’s only track eligible to host world championship go-karting events. Designed to the specifications required by Commission Internationale de Karting (CIK) and FédérationInternationale de l'Automobile (FIA) governing bodies to enable classification as a Grade A short circuit, the venue is accessible to professional drivers and the public alike.

The circuit is the realisation of a vision held by two brothers – Phillip and Marius Swanepoel of Formula K SA – who’ve been involved in the karting world since the 1990s.

“We believe this is the best arrive and drive track in the country, if not the world. Professionals are able to race global competitors here, and we’ve made it possible for the public to use the facility too,” points out Phillip. Later this month, the Formula K track will offer a fleet of rental karts for hire.

The official launch was hosted by motor industry commentator, George Mienie, CEO of AutoTrader, in support of the Swanepoel brothers.

George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, stands alongside Formula K founders Philip and Marius Swanepoel and the 50th edition Nissan GT-R Credit: AutoTrader

Image: George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, stands alongside Formula K founders Philip and Marius Swanepoel and the 50th edition Nissan GT-R Credit: AutoTrader.

A Nissan GT-R, designed to celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary, raced an inaugural hot lap during the launch. This served to demonstrate the track’s versatility. “While the venue boasts international go-karting credibility, it's exciting to see another track in South Africa that is also capable of hosting short circuit racing for cars and bikes,” commented Mienie.

According to Mienie, the opening of this circuit has massive implications for the future of motorsport. “Most motor racing professionals – anyone and everyone from Ayton Senna to Lewis Hamilton – cut their teeth in karting. Accordingly, the opening of this track is truly significant. Future Formula One champions could be groomed here!” he explains.

In its standard karting configuration, the Formula K Circuit is 1.5 kilometres in length. However, it can easily be modified to extend to 2.1 km by including two back straights and chicanes. Equally it can be reduced to a baby karting circuit measuring less than a kilometre in length.

The track configuration boasts both fast and technical sections that offer a great variety of corner types, elevation changes and several turns that are noticeably banked. “It will be a real test of driving acumen where simply figuring out your ideal racing line will take time, patience and skill,” commented Marius.

The Formula K Circuit forms part of a larger commercial development, the Formula K Business Park, that will overlook the track. It will feature a pit building with a clubhouse containing conference facilities, a restaurant, gym, restrooms,retail stores and more.

More information: https://www.formula-k.co.za/

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