BRIDGESTONE PRODUCTION CARS – LOOKING AT 2012
There are some exciting developments taking place in the Bridgestone Production Car Championship and the series is sure to grow from strength to strength as the premier category within the WesBank Super Series.
The first round of the championship will kick off at Zwartkops Raceway (Pretoria West) on 3 March, where teams will compete in two back to back sprint races with a longer third race.
2012 won’t see very many changes in Class A, but BMW fans will be excited to see Etienne van der Linde back in action. He will be teaming up with Anthony Taylor in the Afrox BMW team.
BMW will take their entry to four with the debut of John Mayer (3M BMW 335i) and Kishoor Pitamber in a Pirtek sponsored BMW E92 335i.
Melvill Priest will return to his Production Car roots and will be competing in an Audi S4 with backing from Mueller Sports Medicine.
While it may take Priest a few rounds to get settled in his new car, Michael Stephen is a seasoned Audi campaigner and will be back to defend his championship title with help from long standing Engen Xtreme teammate, Tschops Sipuka.
It will remain to be seen if Johan Fourie (Audi S4) will make the journey to Zwartkops after being left in the lurch by his primary sponsor less than a month ago.
Team Sasol Subaru will be back in the mix with Hennie Groenewald and Richard Pinard doing the brand proud.
The Class T entry list may appear a bit thin for the first round of the championship, but big things are happening in the class in 2012.
The usual Ford and Volkswagen protagonists will return to the scene with a twist. Castrol Ford Focus ST drivers, Gary Formato and Shaun Duminy will now have to face two IndyOil GTIs, with Graeme Nathan adding new teammate Jacques Joubert into the mix.
In addition to this already exciting combination, Gennaro Bonafede will be back in his Ferodo VW GTI and the determination this youngster can not be discounted.
Michael van Rooyen will start the season in his Williams Hunt Opel Astra OPC, before moving over to one of two Chevrolet Cruzes mid-season.
Devin Robertson (Big Boss Auto) has made the jump to Production Cars and will race a Mini Cooper S at Zwartkops. The Mini is a temporary car as Devin awaits the completion of his new Renault Megane.
Talented Capetonian, Ebrahim Levy has committed to the 2012 Bridgestone Production Car Season and fans will be eager to see what he can do.
Whilst that concludes the Zwartkops entries, two Mini Coopers are expected to join the championship before mid-season. These will be driven by Lee Thompson and Gavin Cronje. A second Renault Megane and at least one more VW GTI is also on the cards.
Photographs Danie van Jaarsveld Copyright