GR Yaris league adds to Dunlop's young driver commitment

Among the many vital pillars under Dunlop SportMaxx Tyres’ ever-growing support of South African motorsport, is to underpin driver development. A long-time supporter of, and tyre supplier to South Africa’s leading young driver’s class in the CompCare Polo Cup, Dunlop has now added a new arrow to its bow in its support of the GR Yaris League, which launched this season.

Run by Bucketlist Racing, the Toyota Gazoo GRYaris League is specifically designed as a young drivers’ step up out of karting into the main circuit. Racing the same mighty little Toyota GR Yaris that did duty in Toyota’s Media Cup last year on 17-inch Dunlop semi-slick racing tyres, the new Gazoo Yaris League has attracted an exciting first year field that has already thoroughly impressed in its first three races of its maiden season.

“Dunlop is delighted to grow its junior racing involvement into the Toyota Gazoo GR Yaris League,” Dunlop PR & Events Manager Joanne de Freitas explains. “We have long supported the CompCare Polo Cup, which has seen drivers from the likes of DTM champion Sheldon van der Linde into international careers. We also support regional feeder series like the Pabar VW Challenge, and the Cape Alert Engine Parts GTi Challenge.

“Now Dunlop is also the tyre supplier to the new 2023 GR Yaris League, and from what we have seen so far, this new avenue has attracted a thrilling fresh crop of young racing stars out of other classes, from karting, and even out of sim racing, onto the main circuit. “We look forward to tracking these young guns' progress on track this year, and into the future. We certainly have a few more future champions in the GR Yaris League ranks!”

The GR Yaris League has drawn a most interesting mix of drivers. There are three karters, one former Polo Cup racer and a pair of drivers who have made the step up from sim racing. Two of the karters, Sa’aad Variawa and Bjorn Bertholdt come from racing families, while Nicky Vostanis impressed in karting before making the step up. Ex-Polo Cup lass Karah Hill is the rose between the thorns, and Ryan Naicker and Taariq Adam are sim racers.

Sa’aad Variawa has been the revelation of the season. The younger brother of GTC championship leader Saood has been the class of the field, winning the first five races on the trot. Nicky Vostanis however ended Sa’aad’s winning streak at Zwartkops this last weekend, after also deposing Variawa from pole position for the first time. Feisty Karah Hill has been right in the mix all along, and the three of them look set to fight it out for that first Yaris League title.

The GR Yaris League races as part of the South African National Championship Extreme Festival roadshow. Next round is at Aldo Scribante in Gqeberha on Saturday 17 June.