This past weekend saw the finale of the inaugural, local instalment of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Cup and it took place at Zwartkops Raceway in and among a bunch of other cool race classes. The field of drivers is made up of motoring journalists linked to some big publications, of course each of them with a keen interest in real racing and some having a pretty successful racing background. The cars used are Durban Stock and they manage to put in pretty decent lap times at the various tracks the series has taken place on, with minor tweaks these cars are capable of lap times in the 1:13.00 range on the Zwartkops tarmac which is pretty impressive. Usually a finale of a class like this features some close points standings making the whole season a hard-fought battle but Cars.co.za’s driving representative created such a big gap that he didn’t need to race in the finale having already clinched the win a race or two before. He was there but his seat was in a GR Corolla with the GTC cars and so his Yaris GR seat was taken up by Toyota SA CEO, Andrew Kirby.
These cars have held up well to some proper mechanical abuse from the journalists, you tend to be ok pushing a car to the absolute limits when you don’t have to fork out to fix it if you bin it, there’s easily 1.5-seconds gained on track when you don’t have that ‘what if’ hanging over your head. For this last race the competitors had a serious obstacle to avoid - the Toyota SA big boss. Yeah, racing is racing and things and mess up in an instant but if you messed up and took out the CEO who’s allowed all this to happen it could be career limiting. I mean I stopped getting Toyota invites simply for wishing another automaker well in a competition, so taking out the CEO at speed on a racetrack - daaaaamn!
In Race 1 the pace was set by Thomas Falkiner (TimesLIVE) with the rest of the field trying hard to stay with his times, but in the race a hiccup on the start saw him drop back to allow Sean Nurse (Autotrader SA, sort of) and Mark Jones (The Citizen) to gain positions with Andrew Kirby (Toyota SA), Jeanette Kok-Kritzinger (Wiele2Wiele) and Lerato Matabese (Top Gear) following. Nurse for the win. Race 2 was more fun to watch with more action happening and one of the journos did exactly what everyone was afraid of, bumping the Toyota CEO. We’ll keep you posted if this affects launch invites and advertising for that publication. Yeah that’s a joke. Or is it? Race 2 saw Nurse lead Falkiner who was so close a sneeze was separating the lap times and with the cars so evenly matched only a mistake by Nurse would give up the win. No mistakes so Nurse for the win, again. Some brilliant driving!
Take a look at the YouTube video from a series that follows local racer Ashley Oldfield in his Cars.co.za Toyota Yaris GR throughout this inaugural season of the Toyota Gazoo Racing GR Cup right through to the last round that's just taken place at Zwartkops Raceway: Drive to Revive Ep1: The start of the Toyota GR Yaris Cup | Cars.co.za
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