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Zwartkops to Host GR Cup Round Three

Zwartkops Raceway is the home track for Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa and Driven editor Bernie Hellberg Jr and will play host to round three of the 2024 TGRSA GR Cup this weekend.

As the year continues to fly by, it’s hard to believe that round three of the National Extreme Festival will roll around this weekend at Zwartkops Raceway in Centurion, Tshwane. 

After a colossal shake-up during round two at Kyalami last month, where Hannes Visser (La’t Wiel) and Alex Shahini (Car) could not finish race one and race two, respectively, after experiencing technical difficulties, the field of six contestants will again jostle for positions in the 2024 Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa GR Cup national championship series.

Ahead of the pack, following impressive double wins at Kyalami, Sean Nurse (AutoTrader) will seek to extend his 13-point lead over Alex Shahini, while Hannes Visser and Jaco van der Merwe (The Citizen) are set for an epic battle at the middle of the pack.

BATTLES OF THE MIND

After seeing my own racing fortunes change substantially from qualifying third in round one at Killarney to qualifying in sixth for the first race at the challenging Kyalami International Circuit, there is nothing but opportunity at Zwartkops for me to raise my game from overall fifth position to surpass Van der Merwe who is currently one point ahead (in fourth place) on the season scoreboard.

The first mental challenge will be familiarising myself with the Driven GR Corolla’s newly upgraded braking system. Following round two, the official Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa brake partners, Powerbrake and Ferodo, were enlisted to identify potential further improvements to the powerful Toyota’s track-spec anchors. For round three, the GR Corollas will sport new race compound rear brake pads and Powerbrake-recommended race fluid, among other upgrades.

Having high-performance brakes that resist fading for the duration of the weekend is not only crucial to the safety of the car, but makes a massive difference to your confidence as a driver. 

And make no mistake, following Kumbi Mtshakazi’s excellent podium performance at Kyalami in April, the challenge to keep him in my rear-view mirror on Saturday, when qualifying kicks off early at 07h20, will be as much physical as it will be mental.

The technical nature of the Zwartkops track requires every ounce of experience to be at play throughout the race, while even a second’s lapse in concentration could spell disaster, especially at corners one and four.

On the upside, only a handful of opportunities for overtaking exist at Zwartkops, making it somewhat easier to keep any challengers at bay in the heat of battle.

ALL THE ACTION

While three official practice rounds on Friday, 17 May, kick off the weekend’s proceedings, the racing action is what we’re all here for. Tickets can be purchased at the gate and are R130 per adult, R90 for students, and kids under 12 get in for free!

Report by BERNIE HELLBERG JR | Images © TOYOTA GAZOO RACING SOUTH AFRICA

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