Zwartkops international racing festival to call back past

The 2024 South African circuit racing season kicks off in typical splendid Zwartkops style when the annual Passion for Speed will thrill fans as ever on the weekend of 26 and 27 January. Set to deliver among the best Pretoria historic racing festival weekends yet, an incredible selection of Passion for Speed highlights is ready to wow race enthusiasts with local and international attractions aplenty.

Highlighted by historic racing attractions bolstered by the strongest international contingent since well before lockdown, there will be something for everyone at Zwartkops. From the great 9 Hour and Springbok series sports cars, to an incredible array of Formula 1 legends of the fifties and ‘sixties, to saloon cars aplenty, and a smattering of contemporary classes, Passion for Speed ’24 has it all, and then some!

Track action is guaranteed at Zwartkops, where you can literally feel the action, with over 311 entries received. Highlights include a trio of international races, the Pre-90 Legends of the 9 Hour Sports Prototypes and Trans-Am, a 45 Minute Legends of the 9 Hour Pre'66 Le Mans Sports & GT TT race, and the Pre-’65 International Historic Grand Prix Cars. If that’s not enough, there’s more open wheeler action in the South African Historic Single Seaters.

Race fans are also guaranteed a full day of South African historic saloon car action, with no less than four different classes of tin tops. Those include the Evapco Historic Saloons, Zwartkops’ favourite Legends of the 9 Hour Marlboro Crane Hire Pre-‘66 Production Cars, Little Giants and U2s, and International Race Supplies Roofsure Historic Racing Saloons. Don’t forget the back to front overtaking action of the Evapco HRSA Pursuit Challenge too.

And just in case the classic action is not enough, there’s also a fair share of contemporary racing action in a trio of championship-opening races. Expect the always spectacular Extreme Supercars Lamborghinis, Porsches, Aston Martins and Nismo GT-Rs to star, now driven by Dunlop. Add the ever-entertaining BMW M-Performance Parts Race Series and the nifty Lotus Challenge racers.

Looking a little closer at the highlights, the Pre-’74 International Sports Prototypes are always among the biggest Passion for Speed attractions. British entry Steve Hart’s Ford GT40 will have its work cut out against local rivals. Oliver Dalais’ similar car, and Zwartkops favourites Mark du Toit and Larry Wilford’s Lola T70s. Never mind Peter Bailey’s Porsche 917, and wieldy Chevron B8 duo, Jonathan du Toit and Dino Scribante.

Porsche 911 RSR gang Andre Bezuidenhout, Rui Campos, Andre van der Merwe and others will have Roy Douglas’ Lancia Beta Monte Carlo for company among the GTs. And Ben Morgenrood and Carel Pienaar’s Ford Mustangs, and Hennie Groenewald’s Camaros must deal with Swede Kennet Persson’s Mustang to in the Trans Am V8s.

Talking V8s, Passion for Speed would not be Passion for Speed, were it not for the monster Legends of the 9 Hour. This one’s set to be a literal World War, with Internationals, Michiel Campange’s Galaxie, Frans van Marchal’s Plymouth, John Spiers’ Camaro, and others up against South Africa’s finest. They include Ford lot Mark du Toits Fairlane, Lee Thompson‘s Galaxie, Ben Morgenrood’s Mustang, Chevy gang Graham Nathan’s Chevelle and many more.

To win the International 45 minute TT is an honour and several previous winners are back chasing repeat glory. Ford GT40 men, Briton Steve Hart, Mark du Toit, and Peter Bailey are up against Allen Meyer’s Chevron B8 and Shelby racers James Temple and Jonathan du Toit’s Daytonas, and Warren Lombard in a Cobra. Add Porsche 911s, Ford Mustangs, and Opel Kadett Superboss and BMW 328i Shadowline Group N racecars for good measure.

The other major attraction is a full field of most significant international Formula 1 cars. Christian Dumolin’s Maserati 250F was raced by Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss and others in the 1950s. Andy Willis drives the Jackie Stewart’s ’64 Monaco winning BRM P261, and Phillip Buhofer is in an ex-Jim Clark F2 Lotus 44 Climax. Many of these cars also once raced in the 1960s South African Formula 1 championship.

Michael Gans for instance brings John Love’s famous ‘67 SA Grand Prix leading Cooper T79 Climax home. Stephan Jobstl’s Lotus 24 Climax V8 is Syd van der Vyver’s old car, and Trevor Blokdyk won at Zwartkops driving Geoff Underwood’s Cooper T56/59 Alfa back in 1963! Ernie Pieterse won races in Eddy Perk’s Heron Alfa in the day, and Mark Shaw’s 1961 Lotus 21 is the ex-Neville Lederle SA championship winning car.

Not to be outdone, the local South African Historic Single Seaters and all the various local tin-top races and these four contemporary historic saloon car classes can also be expected to deliver great interest throughout the weekend.

There is of course far more to the Zwartkops historic weekend than just track action. Passion for Speed 2024 will honour several South African motorsport heroes, primarily Saloon Car and SA Formula 1 legend Basil van Rooyen, who passed away in 2023. The father of the Little Chev V8 and the man who beat Basil Green’s factory car with his own Capri Perana, Basil also won in Formula 1 among so many huge career highlights.

The weekend will celebrate van Rooyen alongside 9 Hour legend and the men and women behind the Passion weekend, David and Liz Piper, and Mike Knight. Sarel van der Merwe, Basil van Rooyen protégés Geoff Mortimer and Willie Hepburn, who both went on to great things, his great friend and rival ‘Call me Arnold’ Chatz, Ben Morgenrood, and 60 year MSA license holder Stewart McLarty are among others on the Passion for Speed honours list.

Off track action extends to drift rides on the skid pan, over and above all the regular Zwartkops festival attractions from stalls and memorabilia, to food, drink, catering, kids entertainment, and so much more. Log on to to buy your discounted tickets, or pay R220 per adult, R140 for students and kids under 12 free at the gate. Visit, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 071 670 0585 for more info.