Geniunely affordable racing – is it possible?
Surprisingly, the answer may lie in a cloud of dust kicked up by a selection of stock cars, rally cars that have seen too many jumps already in their lifetimes and even a perfectly respectable silver 3 Series (with number plates).
In 2017, Killarney International Raceway in Cape Town hosted the big dogs. Racing idols like Loeb, Solberg and Block performed their motoring ballet to more than 27,000 cheering fans. World Rallycross came to our shores.
The FIA-spec circuit is 60% asphalt, 40% gravel, 100% entertainment.
After being granted FIA World Championship status in 2014, World Rallycross (or Rx) has proven to be a fantastic success. Providing a gladiatorial, arena-like atmosphere reminiscent of other forms of short-circuit racing, Rx combines elements of drag racing, drifting and rally-style jumps.
Spectator value is huge. These cars do 0 – 100km/h faster than a Formula 1 car. No tears are shed for broken bodywork. Competitors often cross the finish line sideways and sometimes backwards!
Audi, Ford, Hyundai, Peugeot, Renault and Volkswagen are all running teams in 2018. Given the disturbing trends in rally racing generally over the past few years, that is a strong indication of the power of Rx.
Mark Cronje and Ashley Haigh-Smith flew the South African flag high at the Killarney round of the 2017 world championship, but South Africa does not have a regular competitor in the series. When one considers the success of our Dakar heroes, there is no reason why we cannot put forward a competitive entry into a full international Rx calendar.
In a fantastic development, our FIA-spec facility will not only be used once a year for Rallycross-format racing. Motorsport South Africa has given the Western Province Motor Club and Ashley Haigh-Smith Racing exclusive rights for three years to develop a local series.
The series is firmly in experimental phase, with current events focused on promoting the overall series rather than declaring champions. Classes are still to be determined, evidenced by the huge variety of cars entered for the day.
Organisers and participants reckon the entry cost for a suitable entry-level car is between R30k and R50k, which is no different to regional level karting. The full extent of annual racing costs remains to be seen, but a major focus of the series is to keep costs down, so hopefully expenses will be kept to a minimum.
Busy circuits, spectator entertainment and low racing costs – what’s not to love?