NEW DAWN FOR SASOLRACING CIRCUIT TEAM PREVIEW: BRIDGESTONE PRODUCTION CAR CHAMPIONSHIP – RD 1
Hennie Groenewald and Richard Pinard will be aboard a pair of brand new Sasolracing Subaru WRX STI sedans, representing a new era for the SP Race Engineering-run team.
The new-look Sasol racers have inherited solid engineering DNA from the best that the hatchback racers offered and incorporate a number of evolutionary technical details that will place the drivers in a favourable championship-challenging position.
With the highest number of heat wins last season, the now-retired hatch has set lofty targets for the new sedans to follow, having carried Hennie to 3rd in the 2011 title race and 2nd in the 2012 points standings.
The four-door Subaru sedan represents a new chapter in the team’s history as the car has been engineered from a clean sheet of paper to withstand the exacting demands of the fender bending series by placing vital components where they are best able to withstand the rigours of cut-and-thrust racing.
The small team built both cars in parallel, moving between cars as each new component was installed. Team Principal Carel Pienaar said: “We’ve changed a number of items using knowledge gained over the last season. There has been a considerable component carry-over as the hatches were built and re-built with high quality equipment”.
“The sedan should give us an aerodynamic advantage and better weight distribution, but we will find out when we conduct our shakedown”, Carel added.
New regulations dictate that all competitors run a with a turbo –boost reduction of 20% to aid reliability and reduce costs, so all machinery will be deemed ‘new’ for the first two races to ensure a level playing field.
Hennie Groenewald is excited about the new season. “The new Subaru looks great and the team has engineered in some interesting ideas, aimed at easier and quicker maintenance during a race day. The sedan should give us a better straight-line speed although the wing will increase drag”.
“Kyalami has always been a strong track for us so I’m hopeful of a strong showing to get some points on the board before we hit the coastal circuits where we have battled relative to the other teams. A lot of work has been focused on reducing our performance at sea level. We’re in a good position although I’m nervous of what changes the series controllers will implement in the opening races while I’m hopeful we won’t endure any new car teething troubles”.
Echoing his team mate, Richard Pinard is excited to be going racing again. “SP Racing has done a fantastic job building our cars. I have no doubt that we have the right equipment and some of the solutions built into our cars will make a real difference. I expect the boost reduction to increase lap times by around 2 seconds but we will have to wait and see”.
“The car looks the part and there is no doubt I have an identical specification car to Hennie so now it’s time to step up to the plate. The build quality is superb and the only nut to be worried about is the one behind the wheel!”
The Sasolracing Subaru WRX STI sedans will compete in two back-to-back sprint races with a longer race later in the day. Points are up for grabs to the top three fastest qualifiers as well as a point per race for the fastest lap.
Race fans are welcome to view the cars up close in the pits on raceday.
Sasolracing gratefully acknowledges their partners Subaru, AutoZone, MIR Sports Clothing and Shatterprufe windscreens.