Bridgestone BMW CCG Midvaal Track Day Hosted by Sovereign Vereeniging BMW
Story: Rupert Giessing
The historic Midvaal raceway near Meyerton played host to the second BMW Car Club Gauteng track day of the year, proudly sponsored by Bridgestone and Sovereign Vereeniging BMW (previously Vaal Ridge Auto BMW).
Our track days are always the most exciting and adrenaline filled events on our calendar, and they provide a great opportunity for everyday drivers to take their cars to a racetrack and drive them mercilessly, without fear of any road dangers and traffic police lurking behind bushes. They are also a great way to hone your driving skill, with plenty of competent and friendly people around to give advice, all you have to do is ask!
Proceedings got underway in the dark and early hours of the morning, as we all waited in anticipation for the sun to make a welcome appearance over the horizon. With a rather “fresh” 4 °C outside that I saw driving into the circuit, anyone that was still asleep on the way there, was definitely wide awake after breathing some early morning highveld winter air!
With the drivers briefing taken care of by Michael Broom, and opening prayer done by BMW CCG chairman Colin van Son, eager speed freaks hit the track with the start of the first time trial sessions at 8:00 a.m. This was the first time the BMW Car Club Gauteng returned to the Midvaal circuit for a track day since 2014, so everyone was very eager to go out and get some laps under the belt.
The track has some great characteristics, including a long flat-out straight and fast sweeping corners, combined with some tight and twisty, albeit slightly bumpy, sections. There was also a bit of a twist to the day, as we drove the circuit in the opposite direction for the first time. This made the day so much more interesting, with many of the participants actually preferring the track in this direction, as opposed to the traditional clock-wise layout.
There was a homely atmosphere to the day, with food stalls selling something to eat to the hungry spectators and participants alike. Sovereign Vereeniging BMW also had some Bavarian beauties on display for the day, including the beautiful new 5 series, together with the BMW Lifestyle accessories that is always popular with BMW enthusiasts.
As is always the case with our track days, we had the hot lap cars taking eager and excited spectators around the track for a few flying laps. This is a must do for everyone attending our track days, especially if you haven’t been around a race track before. For as little as R100 a professional driver will take you around the track for a few flying laps in the impressive 340i. It’s always an eye opener for first time passengers when they get to experience the true potential of these cars, especially if they are shod with Bridgestone Potenza RE-11S semi-slick rubber, as they were on the day.
As the day started getting warmer, and track surface temperatures increased correspondingly, lap times started to come down. Drivers were also getting to grips with the opposite direction track layout and tackled corners with more confidence, pushing that little bit harder and braking later in pursuit of the next few 1/10th’s they can shave off their lap times.
As the winter sun set early on a very enjoyable day, the fastest BMW and also fastest car of the day was Leon Loubser in his fearsome E92 335i, with a laptime of 1:10.315. Clinton Spence was the fastest non-BMW driver of the day with an equally impressive time of 1:12.779 in his Subaru Impreza WRX STi. Quinton Asken was the fastest Porsche driver with a time of 1:18.026 in his 996 GT3. Monica van der Westhuizen was our fastest lady driver, with a time of 1:23.137 in her Audi S3.
We would like to take this opportunity to once again thank our sponsors for the day, Bridgestone and Sovereign Vereeniging BMW, for making the day possible. Without your support we would not be able to host these events and enjoy the sheer driving pleasure of our Bavarian (and other) machines in a safe environment, and to their full capabilities.