MOBIL 1 V8 SUPERCARS SET FOR SEASON-OPENER AT PASSION FOR SPEED
Race Preview by: Reynard Gelderblom
Photo 1; 3-4: Reynard Geldeblom
Photo 2: Raymond Cornwell
With the 2021 title still to be decided, the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars field is set to start the 2022 season as one of the headline categories at the 21st Passion For Speed event, to be held at Zwartkops Raceway this coming weekend (January 27-29).
The event will also start a double-header week for the series with the 2021 season finale taking place the following weekend as part of the postponed Kyalami 9 Hour.
This will not hold back the desire from the 2021 title contenders to start the new season as front-runners as well. If anything, the likes of Mackie Adlem (#1 Adlem Auto Jaguar XKR), Franco di Matteo (#3 Lauda Jaguar XKR), and Thomas Reib (#9 Mobil 1 / Café 9 Automotive Chevrolet Lumina) would want to take the momentum of Zwartkops dominance into the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit battle. All three drivers have taken a race win at the circuit on the western outskirts of Pretoria in 2021.
The fourth driver and most recent to stand on the top of the podium at Zwartkops, Terry Wilford (#21 Fuchs Lubricants Ford Falcon) will also be eager to find himself in title contention at the start of the season. He will be joined by Larry Wilford (#77 Fuchs Lubricants Chevrolet Corvette). His last outing was at the same circuit in the previous edition of the Passion For Speed.
In 2021, the new generation of drivers to progress into the category regularly found themselves in contention for podium finishes. While JP Nortje (#111 AMTEC / N4 Autocraft Chevrolet Corvette) joined the winners’ circle in 2019, Julian Fameliaris (#20 Lube-Net Chevrolet Corvette) took his maiden victory early in 2021. Warren Lombard (#6 PepBoys Automotive Ford Falcon) regularly found himself involved in battles at the front of the field while Carl Nel (#15 Gears For Africa Chevrolet Lumina) did not take long to step onto the podium after joining the field at the midway point of the season.
One of the stand-out performances in the season came from Richard Fuller (#12 Reventon Auto Ford Mustang). He made his debut in the previous Passion For Speed event and took a second-place finish after occupying the lead in only his second start. This group of drivers will be eager to establish themselves as consistent front runners in the series.
Sam Dahl (#98 Arcprotech Ford Falcon) will be returning to South Africa for his second campaign in the series. Steve Herbst (#7 PPG Coatings / Prei Instrumentation / QI Systems Chevrolet Corvette) and Johnny Eekhout (#24 Johnspeed Cobra Chevrolet Corvette) would like to put their 2021 technical difficulties behind them and are both looking forward to a solid start to their new campaigns.
The season opener will also see the return of two drivers that we did not see on the grid throughout 2021. Antonie Marx (#10 Reman Africa Chevrolet Corvette) will make his first appearance since the 2020 season finale, a weekend that saw him record his maiden podium finish. Auke Compaan (#66 Hurricane Motorsport Ford Mustang) is also due to make his return.
The weekend will consist of a three-day program, starting with a host of official and unofficial practice sessions on Thursday and the first half of Friday. Qualifying is scheduled for 15:10 on Friday. Saturday’s two 12-lap races are scheduled for 10:00 and 16:15.
Nicole Jooste, Marketing Manager for Africa Group Lubricants, is also excited ahead of the start of the 2022 season. “We are starting the fourth year of our partnership with Mobil 1 on board as naming rights brand. We cannot wait for the new season to start, even though we still have to complete the previous one. But this is a very exciting time to be involved with the Mobil 1 V8
Supercars, particularly with the double-header ahead and after such an abrupt end to 2021. This also marks the third year of the series featuring on the Passion For Speed roster and we can’t think of anything more entertaining than The Rolling Thunder to get the wheels rolling in a new year for South African motorsport.”
Spectator tickets, limited to 2 000 under the current State of Disaster regulations, can be purchased via https://www.zwartkops.co.za/event/passion-for-speed-2022. The full Passion For Speed event will also be streamed live via the Mobil 1 V8 Supercars Facebook page and 2WheelsTV YouTube channels.