Aah, ‘Straya. Land of frightening spiders, killer snakes and generally unlikable sports personalities. The land of kangaroos and questionable accents is our biggest rival in so many ways, but it’s a great place to go racing.
There’s thunder down under tonight and we aren’t talking about the bad curry you had yesterday. The Sports and GT crowd are staging an exciting standalone event with R1,500 prize money for the winner. In the real world that doesn’t buy you a single tyre for most of these racecars, but in the virtual world it could buy you a few things to celebrate your victory, had the government not declared them illegal.
Although tonight’s race is not for championship points, one must at least consider the form book when heading into an event like this. Cape Town motorsport fans will be thrilled to see a local racer leading the overall standings, as Jurie “Umpie” Swart has delivered an impressive run of performances. He’s had to fight all the way, as European sim specialist Kevin Gimenez and Mobil V8 Supercars driver Julian Fameliaris have kept him honest. Umpie is not currently on the entry list tonight, as he prepares for the real world Polo Cup battle at Zwartkops this weekend, but his two biggest rivals are.
Darryn Lobb, Troy Dolinschek, Byron Mitchell, Jonty Vice, Stuwie White, Len Gerber and Sandro Biccari round out the top 10 in the overall standings.
Sandro is also leading the WP Sports and GT Class ahead of Steve McCarthy and Mike Verrier who currently hold the podium spots in that class.
The battleground for this evening’s event is the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst. Host to endurance races among the most iconic in the world, it features highly Australian corner names like “The Dipper” and “Forrest’s Elbow” – you can almost hear Crocodile Dundee doing the commentary. If you can actually hear him tonight, then you’ll need to adjust your stream, as the commentary will be provided by the usual suspects of Gary Fleming, Franky Heunis and Francois Butler.
The format for tonight’s race is a team endurance event with two drivers per team. It’s difficult to predict how this race might pan out, but we can have a few guesses as to who the frontrunning teams might be.
Starting with the fast BMWs, keep an eye out for the potent combo of Stuwie White and Kevin Gimenez (Stradale Motorsport / Into Africa) as they tussle with Jason Coetzee and Chassen Bright (Stradale Motorsport / Pagid) as well as Byron Mitchell and Troy Dolinschek (Team Slow – ahem).
We don’t have confirmation yet of their chosen weapon, but keep an eye out for the driver pairing of Julian Fameliaris and Lourenzo Gautieri. Keegan Campos and W-Series driver Tasmin Pepper are also expected to log in, bringing a wealth of real-world experience and talent to this event.
Other BMW driver pairings include Mike Verrier and Len Gerber (Aidcall247/Drivegym), Garth De Villiers and Jonty Vice (Durant motorsports/Microfusion), Cyril Ginsburg and Colin Plit (CYCO – pronounced physco) and Johan Engelbrecht and Peter van der Spuy (JogaJoga café). Karter Andre Steenkamp and F1600 star Andrew Rackstraw (First Try Racing) round off the Bavarian contenders along with the confusingly-named Team AMG of Pieter Joubert and Quentin Boylan.
Only two teams have elected to run the Ferrari, perhaps an indication of recent Formula 1 form? Nonetheless, the pairings of Sean and Steve McCarthy (Sujean Investments) as well as Ryan Buda and Andrew Thomas (Carbs and Coffee Fatsak) will try to do a better job of representing Maranello than Vettel is currently doing. They are in with a good chance.
At the other end of the F1 brand spectrum, we need to cover the Mercedes AMG GT3 team of Andrew Culbert and Wayne Cammidge (Bigfoot Express) who will be shining the light of the three pointed star.
Other entries for tonight include Sandro and Leonardo Biccari, Dawie and Charl Joubert, Scois and Raynere Joubert, Jason Greyling and Elroy Vice, Juan van Rensburg and Gabriel Hendriksz as well as Robbie Teengs and Willem Pienaar.
The livestream starts at 19:30 on the Sports & GT Facebook page.