There are a number of reasons why the Sun City 400, with round five of this year’s Donaldson Cross Country Championship to be run on July 26 and 27, is one of the most popular races on the calendar.
With the event based at one of the world’s top entertainment resorts a stone’s throw from Pretoria, Johannesburg and other Gauteng and North West centres, the Sun City 400 offers cross country enthusiasts the best of both worlds. A family outing combined with national championship cross country racing has for more than a decade proved to be a popular attraction for motorsport enthusiasts.
With both the Production Vehicle and Special Vehicle championships delicately poised as the Donaldson Cross Country Championship enters the second half of the season, this year’s Sun City 400 should be no exception. Toyota sponsored the first Pilanesberg race in 2002, with the event renamed the Sun City 400 the following year with backing from Sun International.
With a combined national and Northern Region championship entry that is again expected to top 80 cars, the Sun City 400 has also proved popular with competitors. The race, which has won the best event of the year award on a number of occasions, is regarded as one of the toughest on the calendar and down the years has produced a number of surprise results.
With the event based at the Sun City complex static displays will again add to the carnival atmosphere. Among the organisations that will have products and services on display are Donaldson Filtration Solutions; Atlas Copco; Polaris, Can AM, Jurgens Caravans, Venturer, Nissan and Rockstar Energy Drinks.
This year’s race is also the first anniversary of the initiative to take cross country racing to a wider audience. This is done via the Imperial Automotive celebrity co-driver series that sees sports, entertainment and business personalities sitting alongside former South African champion Archie Rutherford in the Imperial Automotive Nissan Navara.
Proteas cricketer Fanie de Villiers was the first personality to compete with Rutherford and since then has been followed by the likes rugby and cricket stars Stefan Terblanche and Jonty Rhodes, Paralympics swimming legend Natalie du Toit, singer Heinz Winckler and surfer, model and actress Roxy Louw. More recently Rutherford was joined by Donaldson chief executive Rob Simpson on the Toyota 1000 Desert Race, and at Sun City will be accompanied by Supersport television presenter Derek Alberts.
Race headquarters, the designated service park and the static displays will all be located at the Sun City complex with free public access to these areas. There will also be free public access to the numerous spectator viewing areas along the route that always make the Sun City 400 a spectator friendly race.
Qualifying to determine race grid positions will start a 12:30 on Friday, July 26 and the race at 08:30 on Saturday, July 27.