Sunday morning the 5th of March 2017 saw eager trackday junkies descend upon Zwartkops for their first speed fix of the year. Activities started early with drivers ready and waiting to be scrutineered at the 7 o’ clock already. With a full field of 58 cars, scrutineering and registration finished around 9, followed by a drivers briefing where Michael Broom explained all the do’s and don’ts of the day’s activities to the competitors, followed with a prayer by Sav Gualtieri.
In what was a first for the BMW Car Club Gauteng track days, the start to the day coincided with a BMW ///M breakfast run organised by our BMW dealer sponsors for the day, the Legacy Motor Group, who own Menlyn Auto and Zambesi Auto. The ///M machines travelled in a spectacular convoy from Zambesi Auto to Zwartkops where they did a parade lap of the track amid much fanfare and excitement from drivers, spectators and competitors alike.
With all the formalities and other off track activities taken care of, it was time to get started with what we were really there for, time trials. Eager Group 1 drivers (the really fast guys) lined up in pit lane and as the session started the cars hit the track and soon the air was filled with the sound of screaming engines. Sessions were divided into 15 minute intervals as the Group 2 and 3 drivers also headed out on track for their first adrenaline fix of the day. Everyone settled in and started challenging their personal best lap times on the recently resurfaced Zwartkops track.
For anyone wishing to experience the thrill and excitement of going flat out around a race track, our ever popular hot lap sessions offer you that opportunity. For only R100 per person, a BMW Driving Experience instructor will take you around the track for two flying laps in one of the 340i Driving Experience cars. This is always a very memorable experience, especially if you’ve never been around a race track before. After a session out on track, passengers always emerge from the cars with a dazed and amazed look on their faces, not believing what the cars are actually capable of. Especially so if the cars are fitted with the excellent super sticky Bridgestone Potenza RE-11S semi-slick rubber as they were on the day.
Proceedings were interrupted around 2 o’clock in the afternoon when a typical Highveld thunderstorm passed over the track. The shower didn’t last too long and soon the bravest drivers were out on track again, taking on the tricky and slippery conditions. With the final session of the day, the open session, underway yet another shower passed over the track and this time conditions called for an end to the day’s activities. Unfortunately our track time was cut short due to the rain, but that being said, we are grateful for every drop we receive.
Our track days are always very popular events, not just with BMW drivers, but also with enthusiasts driving other serious performance machinery, as there was also a good showing by the Nissan GTR and Porsche faithful’s. There was also a great variety of other exotic machinery ranging from Jimmy Giannoccaro in his Ferrari F430 Challenge to Rick Loureiro’s Ariel Atom 3. This just adds to the excitement and variety offered by our track days, making them such enjoyable events for spectators and competitors alike.
Fastest BMW, and also fastest car of the day was Leon Loubser in his E92 335i, with a blistering laptime of 1:04.606. Leon was also the fastest driver at our previous Zwartkops track day in July last year, with a time of 1:05.250 on that occasion. Fastest Nissan GT-R driver on the day was Edrich Zwiers with an equally impressive time of 1:07.335. Ricard Schuhardt was the fastest Porsche driver of the day, in his now orange liveried 911 RS, with a best lap of 1:11.834.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors for the day, Bridgestone and the Legacy Motor Group, on behalf of Zambesi Auto and Menlyn Auto for making the day possible. Without your generosity we would not be able to host these events and use our Bavarian (and other) beauties in a safe and enjoyable environment to their full capablities.