Team Castrol MINI John Cooper Works debuts new engine in PE
Bridgestone Production Cars Class T Championship
Round 3 Preview
Aldo Scribante Circuit, Port Elizabeth, 6 April 2013
TEAM CASTROL MINI JOHN COOPER WORKS DEBUTS NEW ENGINE IN PE
Team Castrol MINI John Cooper Works, already winners in the first two rounds of the 2013 Bridgestone Production Car Championship, will present a formidable challenge to the other contenders in class T when Port Elizabeth’s Aldo Scribante Circuit hosts round three on April 6.
Gavin Cronje, currently second in the championship after race wins at Kyalami in February and Killarney in March, and Lee Thompson will debut the much anticipated new N18 turbo-charged 1 600 cc engine in their MINI John Cooper Works entries. This engine, which is featured in the new MINI John Cooper Works GP hatch, that was launched in South Africa last week, features a number of enhancements over the previous power unit.
“Team Castrol MINI John Cooper Works stands a good chance of adding to its winning tally in Port Elizabeth. The car is not heavy on its tyres, which will help on the abrasive Aldo Scribante circuit, and we expect it to be particularly strong in the longer feature race,” said team principal Donovan van Heerden.
“The guys from Motec have been very busy developing the software needed to manage the new engine with its variable valve timing. We believe this latest technology will help the MINI John Cooper Works on the track and will improve mid-range punch.
“We’ll be racing with the same boost, weight and restrictor size as we did in Cape Town. Gavin is in fine form, with two wins and four podiums in the last six races, and we’re confident he’ll carry this form into the next round. On the other side of the garage, Lee Thompson has had a frustrating start to 2013 and he’ll be hungry for success. He’s a top racer and with a new engine in his car I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t turn out to be the package to beat.“
Cronje is under no illusions about the task ahead, “Yes, we’ve had a good start to the season, but the competition is also strong. While the Team Castrol MINI John Cooper Works has proved to be a great package – and the new engine will make it even stronger – we’re going to have to qualify well if we are to keep our challengers behind us. We have to keep up the pressure and strengthen our position in the championship.”
After technical problems affected his performance at Kyalami and prevented him from racing at Killarney, Thompson is understandably wary of making any predictions for Aldo Scribante. “I said this before Cape Town and let’s hope I don’t have to say it again, but my season really starts in PE. The new engine should make a difference.”
In addition to principal sponsor Castrol, the team enjoys backing from MINI John Cooper Works, Ferodo, EPS Courier Services, Akrapovic Exhaust Systems and new partner Powerbrake.