CompCare Polo Cup starts with 9 Hour curtain raiser

It’s a case of all change is no change as CompCare Polo Cup gears up for yet another scintillating season of racing, and where better than at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit as curtain raiser to the 2023 Jo’burg 9 Hour endurance race.

While the CompCare Polo Cup regulations remain largely unchanged, the cars have been given more power for 2023 and push to pass is now allowed in all practice sessions, qualifying and races. The only time it is not allowed is on lap 1 of all races. One more change is that the Top 6 draw for Race 2 will no longer influence the grid formation.

With five of last year’s top seven drivers including the champion moving on, opportunity knocks for the rest of the field. Second overall last year, Charl Visser is out to go one better, and fourth lad Dawie van der Merwe is back for more, but the rest of the front end of the grid will look rather different to what it did last year.

“South Africa’s leading young driver’s series is back for its 27th year of cracking racing,” Volkswagen Motorsport’s Mike Rowe confirmed. “CompCare Polo Cup has run successfully for 26 years so we see absolutely no reason to change a formula that has provided a platform for drivers to develop into top racing drivers, some who have moved on to become international superstars.

“A few of last year’s top drivers have moved on to make space for a different looking group of young chargers this year. “This is exactly what we expect to happen, and we look forward to a new group of young drivers who will hone their skills in the competitive environment CompCare Polo Cup provides. “May the best man, or woman, win!”

Last year’s runner-up, Charl Visser leads a three-man Universal Motorsport Volkswagen Polo Cup team, backed by 2022 Rookie of the Year Jagger Robertson’s Liqui Moly Rowan Tree car, and promising fellow second season racer, hot rod star Jason Loosemore. Dawie van der Merwe has moved across to Nathan's Motorsport, where he will race alongside rookie Reaobaka ‘Buksi’ Komane.

One man to watch is Formula 1600 refugee Dean Venter. He impressed on several occasions and proved a regular feature in Superpole aboard his VDN Auto Cars & M Town Polo Cup last year. Experienced Dean is a certain dark horse among his young rivals. Most Improved Driver of 2022, Karah Hill was another to put her hand up toward the end of last season. She is certainly worth keeping an eye on in her Kalex Polo.

Ethan Coetzee makes his Polo Cup return aboard his JRT Racing Experience Polo after missing the past few races of 2022 following his East London crash. He’ll be back against old rivals, Bryce Pillay’s Techtisa and Mo Karodia’s Fast 5 Polo Cups. Farhaan Basha’s QVWi machine returns to Polo Cup after a year away, and perennial entrant Shivvy Bissoon will be trotting his Steaming Bean machine out at Kyalami.

Three of 2023’s Polo Cup rookies already showed their colours late in 2022. Cape Town lad Nathan Victor proved that he could mix it up with the front guys in his Summit Racing Polo, Anthony Pretorius impressed on his debut in his Bucket List Racing OMP Polo in the final round last year, and Jeandre Marais also found his feet in his Syrabix Davidson Polo. They will be joined by rookie karting graduate, Roshaan Goodman who makes his debut in his Upward Spiral Polo.

CompCare Polo Cup practices start this coming Thursday with qualifying from 08h15 Friday morning 24 February. Race 1 is at 10h10 Friday, with Race 2 09h35 Saturday morning 25 February. See you at Kyalami!

*Volkswagen Motorsport thanks its partners CompCare Medical Scheme, Dunlop, Ferodo, Motul and VW Genuine Parts.