Southern African Endurance Series heads to Red Star Racway for jam-packed Autumn Motorsport Festival

Motorsport fans are in for an action-packed weekend at Red Star Raceway when 47 cars and 75 drivers hit the track for the second round of the Southern African Endurance Series Autumn Motorsport Festival on 28 and 29 April. An added bonus for spectators is free entry to the racing!

Two races for the SA GT National Championship and the Toys-R-Us Three Hour SA Endurance National Championship take pride of place on the race programme with two Silvercup races providing additional exciting racing.

Heading the SA Endurance National Championship points log is Charl Arangies and Clint Weston who will field a Stradale Motorsport Porsche 997 GT3 Cup car in the three-hour endurance event instead of their regular Mercedes-AMG and will be aiming to make it two out of two to keep their title momentum on the boil.

Second placed Xolile Letlaka and Stuart White are also changing their machine for the second round, wheeling out their Into Africa Racing McLaren 650S in their quest to take the fight to the Stradale stable.

BBR Racing - third in the title race in the early part of the season, have regulars Hein Lategan and Verissimo Tavares behind the wheel of their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, bolster their line-up with triple SA Cross Country Champion and Dakar regular Henk Lategan in their arsenal.

Dolphin Engineering’s Byron Mitchell and Peter van der Spuy take on the class A big guns in their Juno SS3-Nissan V6, the nimble sports car more than capable of holding its own on the twisty Red Star circuit.

Joseph Ellerine has teamed up with SupaCup champion Leyton Fourie in another MJR Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT4 and the fight between the two Audi GT4 teams should be a highlight of the race.

Volkswagen Motorsport’s Daniel Rowe heads the class D title chase in the factory-backed Polo SupaCup, and with co-driver Keagan Masters racing overseas, he will be joined this time around by multiple production car champion Graeme Nathan.

Karah Hill and Polo Cup racer Jurie Swart will provide stiff competition with their Kalex Volkswagen SupaCup, aiming to improve on their last outing and close the class title points gap to the factory team.

Mike McLoughlin/Steve Clark have their wild Chevvy-powered Backdraft Slingshot at hand and will be looking for a trouble-free run, as development issues have hampered the team to date.

Class E is the domain of the Backdraft-Lexus roadsters and features their own championship-within-a-championship, with the lone exception of Andrew Horne/Gerald Buys’ Xena Chemicals Nash-VW. Horne has completely refurbished the car’s suspension to avoid problems that have caused several recent retirements while well placed for a good result.

Leading the Class E title chase is the defending class and Index of Performance champions Harm and Barend Pretorius in their Team Pesty Backdraft. With an eye on defending both championships, the Father and Son duo will be pulling out all the stops.

CJ Blackman, Anthony Hoare and Jean-Paul Briner made their debut in round one – and promptly went to the top of the Index of Performance points log. The Tradecor Steel/Wright Motorsport Backdraft trio will be watched by their rivals to see if this was “beginner’s luck” or a sustainable season-long challenge. 

Factory backdraft racers Brian Martin and Trevor Graham are four points behind the Pretorius father and son team and will be racing hard to catch up.

Team Qhubani’s Fikile Holomisa and Baphumze Rubuluza suffered a rare retirement in the opening round and will be burning the midnight oil to engineer their usual bulletproof reliability back into their Backdraft and get back into title contention.

Benjamin, Crisjan and Ben Morgenrood Sr (Ben Morgenrood Group Backdraft) are out to re-discover their mojo after narrowly missing out on the title last year and starting the year with a non-finish.

Another team looking to get their scorecard ticking over is the PPLE/Adapt Backdraft trio of Phillip Meyer, Mark Harvey and Dean Wolson who retired from the opening round with minutes remaining on the clock.

Brandon Dean and Jarryd Wray round out the class E entries in their Mad Max-entered Backdraft, looking to get their first points of the season on the board.

The One-Hour Dash Interprovincial Championship runs in conjunction with the SA Endurance series where teams run the first hour of the endurance race before pitting after 60 minutes.

Michael Stephen leads teammate Roelf du Plessis by three points; Stephen is behind the wheel of an Ultimate Outlaws McLaren MP4-12C while du Plessis brings his exciting Ultimate Outlaws Holden, packing a 6.0 litre Chev V8 motor and should be the ones to beat.

They will be joined by Marius Jackson’s MJR Motorsport/MegaFibre Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo2, Paul Hill’s wailing V12 Kalex Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and Izak Spies’ Ultimate Outlaws Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.

SA GT National Championship 

Michael Stephen dominated the opening two rounds of the SA GT National Championship last month to take a handy early six point lead in his Ultimate Outlaws Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo and will surely have a target on his back heading to rounds three and four.

Andrew Culbert had his best outings yet in his Bigfoot Express Mercedes-AMG GT3 with a pair of runner-up placings to lie second on the championship log with a four point gap to Aldo Scribante (Scribante Concrete Lamborghini Huracan GT3), who currently completes the points podium.

The man with the most work to do is the reigning SA GT Champion Silvio Scribante who had a rare mechanical issue in his Cemza Cement Lamborghini Huracan GT3; his 30 points leaves him fifth in the ’23 standings and those points were only courtesy of sharing his brother Aldo’s car in race two 
last month. Fit and hungry, the younger Scribante will be the biggest danger to Stephen at Red Star.

Roelf du Plessis, sixth in the standings, and Izak Spies will field a pair of Ultimate Outlaws McLaren MP4-12Cs and will be joined by Marius Jackson, who returns to the series in his MJR Motorsport/MegaFibre Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo2.

Support Races

16 top-tier Silvercup teams will join the SAES race programme for the first time. Marius Jacobs (AAA Recovery Nissan Tigra) and Karel Stols (Rotrix Racing Mazda RX7) are regular winners in the series which also features Nic Martin (Car Care Clinic Peugeot 207 GTi), Giulio Airaga (Desco Tigra-Mazda) and Chris Cronje’s Dozer Earthmoving Toyota spaceframe.

Race Programme

Track action gets underway on Friday with four free practice sessions for the three championships, followed by SAE Qualifying at 15h30 and SAGT Qualifying at 16h15.

Saturday’s activities starts with a short warm-up session for each category followed by Silvercup Qualifying at 08H00.

The first one-hour SA GT race starts at 08H55 followed by the first Silvercup race at 10h15. An hour later, the lights go out for the start of the three-hour SA Endurance race at 11h15.

The second Silvercup race starts at 15h05 with the final race of the day, the second SA GT race scheduled to start at 16h00.

Just an hour’s drive East of Johannesburg and Pretoria, Red Star Raceway is easily accessible on the N12 freeway.