Bridgestone Production Cars Class T Championship
Round 1 Preview
Kyalami, 23 February 2013
FIRST FULL SEASON FOR TEAM CASTROL MINI JOHN COOPER WORKS
The Castrol MINI John Cooper Works team of Gavin Cronje and Lee Thompson return to Kyalami on Saturday to continue where they left off last year – winning races.
Two wins in the final round of the championship at Kyalami took the turbo-charged Class T car’s record in its first season of Bridgestone Production Car racing to five victories in 17 races, with 12 podiums, four pole positions and five fastest laps.
“We aim to do even better this year,” declared team principal Donovan van Heerden of ADF Motorsport. “For a start we’ll be contesting a full season for the first time and, with what we learnt last year and the changes we’ve made for the upcoming series we’re confident we can challenge for the Class T title.
“Our focus in the off season has been rebuilding the MINIs, something we didn’t have a chance to do during the tight racing season. In terms of changes to the cars, we’ve concentrated on managing the new regulations, which call for a 20% reduction in boost to even the playing field.
“The reaction we’ve had from the public and the massive support we’ve enjoyed shows how much of an impact the new cars have had on production car racing and on the MINI brand. We’ll be aiming to build on our successes of last year and make a serious championship challenge this season,” concluded Van Heerden.
Both Thompson and Cronje, two of South Africa’s most versatile racing drivers, tasted success in the crowd-pleasing MINIs last season and looking forward to more of the same in 2013.
Lee Thompson: “We ended our first season on a winning note and showed that the Castrol MINI John Cooper Works is a very potent and exciting package. We’ve successfully tested the changes we’ve made since the rebuild and I’d say we’re looking good for an awesome new season. I can’t wait to get into action.”
Gavin Cronje is equally upbeat: “We’ve made great progress with the MINI John Cooper Works since its first appearance at Zwartkops Raceway in the middle of last season. It’s an awesome car to drive and with the new boost regulations we can expect closer racing and lots of exciting action in the races ahead. The team has been working hard on those areas where we need to improve and test results have been good. The car handles extremely well, which will be a big advantage at Kyalami, which is one of my favourite circuits.”
In addition to principal sponsor Castrol, the team will again enjoy backing from MINI John Cooper Works, Ferodo, EPS Courier Services, Akrapovic Exhaust Systems and new partner Powerbrake.