A unique South African motorsport programme will see the light this year, with the Backdraft Racing company based in Durban to lend 10 race-ready Roadsters to new teams for the 2020 South African Endurance Racing Series. Backdraft Racing is headed up by former South African Driver’s Champion Tony Martin who says: “Everything I have came from motorsport, and I feel the time has come to put something back into the sport.
“This is not a gimmick and the cars are all prepared to within a couple of kW of each other and are identical in every other way. We are loaning cars to teams capable of competing at this level of racing and all we are asking in return is they guarantee to be ready and present for both practice and the race at each event in the series.”
Apart from local teams, the offer has been taken up by equipes from the United Kingdom, one from Sweden and one from Dubai. The South African Endurance Racing series consists of six events at circuits around the country and are all four-hour races except for the final at Killarney, Cape Town in December that will be a marathon seven-hour event.
The Backdraft Roadsters are open-top racers powered by a 300 hp Lexus V8 engine driving the rear wheels through a BMW gearbox and BMW limited slip differential. “They are raw, powerful and purpose-built race cars,” says Martin. “There are no electronic aids such as traction control or anti-lock braking. They are true driver’s cars.”
While the competing teams are free to bring their own sponsors on board to cover the general running costs, they will not be allowed to make any modification to the Roadsters beyond basic race-day and handling setup.
“We will have a fully kitted parts transporter at each race with a full range of spares available. Backdraft will have their own ‘policeman’ – Brian Clifton – to assist competitors and to ensure compliance to the rules. “Nothing on the engine, transmission or brakes can be changed – in fact, no performance enhancing modifications will be allowed,” Martin says.
Competing in the series are a wide range of marques including Lamborghini, Ferrari and Porsche alongside sports cars such as Ginetta, Ligier, Nash and Juno. In all, Backdraft Racing will have at least 13 cars for the 2020 season with established pairing Brian Martin and Trevor Graham continuing to campaign for their easily recognisable red Roadster.
A completely new car is being readied for Tony Martin and Mike McLoughlin. Current KwaZulu-Natal Sports Car Champion Duncan dos Reis will be one of the drivers of the new Roadsters alongside Damon Parker, while well-known historic driver Colin Ellison will partner with Peter Jenkins.
The UK team will consist of Mark Owens with Italian Jean-Marie Gabbiani as co-driver while Thomas Kummerling and his son Jacob will be the Swedish entry. Dubai Backdraft importer Rudi Patior and another will be competing. Brothers Gary and Nigel Richardson will form another team as will Graham and Tania du Toit. Another top KZN driver, Steve Clark still has to announce his co-driver as does Cape Town’s Brian Morgan.
“The spectacle of these 10 Backdraft Roadsters racing one another and the rest of the field is going to add a whole new dimension to the series this year,” enthuses Martin. “Within the series itself there will be a Roadster class – so if anyone has a roadster and wants to join the fun, they are more than welcome.”
The season-opener will be a four-hour race at Aldo Scribante near Port Elizabeth on 21 March. For more information contact Brian Martin on 082 455 3737 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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