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Baby hatches ready to rock ‘n roll


IT’S a tasty recipe. Next year, high-performance compact hatchbacks will go wheel-to-wheel on racetracks around the country. The new Class C - just announced recently - aims to make production car racing more accessible, more relevant and more affordable.

At Zwartkops Raceway on August 30 an on-track display of suitable cars from Fiat (500 Abarth), Citroen (DS3 Racing), Peugeot (208 GTI), Volkswagen (Polo GTI), Ford (Fiesta ST), MINI (Cooper) and Renault (Clio RS) circulated ahead of the Bridgestone Production Car race field.

Terry Moss, who runs Audis in class A and who was a legend in Stannic Group, 25 years ago, was enthusiastic too: “We have to make this work. There needs to be an affordable place to race on a national level in production cars, where a driver can get noticed, and attract a decent budget. This class could be the way forward. Even the Audi A1 could compete here – and these cars are the ones that youngsters aspire to,” he said.

Supa Production Cars will keep an eye on the level of modifications allowed, and the intention is to avoid a situation where the racer - with the best tuner in his pit, or the most sophisticated suspension dampers or trick brake pads on his car - will win.

“This needs to be a class where a young driver, plus his or her dad, plus maybe a family friend, can come to the track and be competitive,” explained Dick Sorensen, head of the Supa Production Cars series that has run the Bridgestone Production Car series since 2007.

“Modern cars are exceptionally sophisticated and we’ve looked at ways of preventing skulduggery in areas like engine management and suspension by requiring everyone to run the same components. This will make Supalites far easier to police and make the racing more affordable and therefore sustainable in the long term.

“Manufacturer involvement is very important in making the acquisition of a car and replacement parts affordable, and we’ve had an encouraging response in this regard. Brands like Fiat, MINI and Citroen are very supportive and feel that the initiative must succeed if circuit racing is to have a future as a marketing platform,” concluded Sorenson.

Series sponsor, Bridgestone, will be providing suitable tyres - heavily subsidised - to take care of things where the rubber meets the road, while the series organisers are currently negotiating with various blue chip companies to form partnerships which will keep costs down and the excitement level up. Fuel and accommodation at away races are key issues which are being addressed.

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