10 best Track Cars raced in South Africa

South African motorsport is filled with many moments and memories that remain in a many a enthusiasts mind. These are primarily filled by the cars and drivers that took our local tracks and entertained supporters who yearned for their favored combination to take victory laurels.

With this being the case many will argue, passionately, on which car they see as the best in South African motorsport. Evolution 2 Motorsport have drafted the ten best race cars that we feel captured the minds of the spectators in the stands who paid money to come watch them. These cars today remain legends to many and enthusiasts still believe that the race cars of today are no match for them. Here they are.

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BP Nissan Primera Touring Car:

Undoubtedly one of the best touring cars to race in South Africa. It took Giniel de Villiers to three straight titles, and was the undisputed king of Bankfin Touring Cars. No other car, driver, combination came close to overhauling De Villiers. This success was attributed to the fact that through the years of Super Touring Car racing Nissan designed and built all of their competitors in their South African workshops. The likes of BMW, Opel and Audi all obtained their cars from European race teams who competed in the likes of England, Germany and Italy. When the rules changed, due to the need for cost cuts, all local teams had to develop their cars in South Africa. Practice made perfect and Nissan developed a formidable car that got better and better as the years past. This car put Hall Sport on the map, and also contributed towards De Villiers success as one of our countries top racers.

Opel Cavalier Super Touring Car:

This was one of the European Touring Cars that was brought in by Opel Motorsport to race in the local AA Fleetcare Super Touring Championship. The Cavalier was not even available in the country, however it was handed to Mike Briggs and Grant McLeery. Like in the British Touring Car Championship it dominated, and the Opel team were unstoppable. Briggs even missed one of the races due to him being invited by Vauxhall to partner British Touring Car champion, John Clelland, at one of their events. Shaun Watson Smith stepped in for the already champion Briggs and proceeded to dominate the field in the car. 

Audi Quattro Wesbank Modified:

Popping and whistling turbo’s accompanied to a five cylinder motor, these Audi’s can go down as some of the best sounding race cars in South African history. Terry Moss and Chris Aberdeen ran at the front of the Wesbank field and were not regularly beaten by their competitors. This Quattro is one of the more exciting cars that Audi have developed locally, and they pay tribute to this by having it on display in their Auto Pavilion museum in Port Elizabeth. Many South African team get rid of their racers once their competitive cycle is up, Audi however decided not let these cars go, and we cannot blame them.

Group One BMW 745i Race Car:

Conceived as an executive run-about, with all the luxury features, the late Tony Viana needed an answer to the threat of Alfa Romeo and Ford. The BMW 535i’s were handed a hiding in 1984 by the GTV’s and Sierra’s. It was make or break for Viana and he decided to base his 1985 season efforts on a very ambitious project. At first when racing competitors heard that the BMW Dealer Team were entering a 7 series race car they thought that perhaps the team had lost the plot. What they may have forgotten was the heart under the 7 series bonnet. The M1 derived M88 24 Valve 3,7 litre DOHC straight six BMW engine that had massive amounts of grunt. This unit accompanied to Viana’s amazing racing ability saw the two win the 1985 championship. Many supporters of Viana will never forget him in this car sliding it around Sun Set corner at Kyalami. The legend is still alive, in 2007 Evolution 2 Motorsport restored the car for former works BMW driver Paolo Cavalieri (of Pablo Clark Racing). The car now races in various historic and BMW club categories, giving headaches to the Group 3 specification ex-Hennie van der Linde Nissan Skyline that the Sorenson family now field.

Group 3 Nissan Skyline Modified:

This car, raced in Sabat livery, is one of the most successful cars to ever race in South Africa. Driven by the legendary Hennie van der Linde it won countless races and championships. The recipe was perfect as Hennie was a technical marvel in building and developing the car, he knew exactly what it required to win. He was complimented by the mechanical ability of the Nissan. They were virtually unstoppable in the Wesbank Modified series. Today the car is owned by Dick Sorenson and it is raced at the annual Zwartkops International by his son Richard. Today the car is still a force that is difficult to be beaten.

‘The Animal’ Ford Sierra Wesbank Modified:

This car is still a hot topic of amongst many in motor racing today. It is a legend of South African racing and put Willie Hepburn on the map as a top race car builder and driver. The car was mighty and won the Wesbank V8 championship numerous times. One aspect that will never be forgotten about this car is how entertaining it was to watch. The popularity of this Ford still stands as there are many rumours, or suggestions, of who now owns the original ‘Animal’. Peter Liedenberg recently showed off his restored Sabat version, however Hepburn promises that he still has the original car and is in the process of re-building it. Either way it is great to see some form of the ‘Animal’ back on track, however it would be nice if we knew whether the real icon has been, or will be re-incarnated.


Opel Superboss Group N Race Car

Many long for this form of racing to be brought back to South Africa. Out of all the cars already mentioned this Superboss will go down as a legend of the sport. It is still a revered car today, with collectors and Opel owners dreaming about owning one. On the track it was dynamite, taking the fight to the higher capacity BMW 325i models. The rivalry between Briggs and Viana developed from these contests, who could forget when the two took one another out at the last corner at Killarney, then when they met back at the pits pointed fingers at one another. The Opel did overcome the 325i’s, however the German brand had something up their sleeves. 


BMW 325is Evo II Group N Race Car:

A cult car in South Africa racing, and the catalyst being the naming of Evolution 2 Motorsport when it was established. After being beaten by the Opel Superboss, BMW went back to the drawing board and some enthusiasts at the factory developed the Evo II. The engine capacity was increased to 2.7 litre, while the suspension was taken from the illustrious E30 M3. The package now had ten extra kilowatts of power and the handling to boot. At the start of the 1993 season the BMW was unstoppable. However, it was not the factory entered BMW Dealer Team entries of Tony Viana and Deon Joubert. Rather the privately run JSN Motors team, where Alec Ceprnich was chief car and engine builder of the team, driven by tin top legend Robbi Smith. The JSN Team, riding on Firestone tyres, a first in South Africa, broke many lap records at tracks like Kyalami, Killarney, East London, Zwartkops and Welkom. Robbi won races at every event, the most notable being the 1993 Castrol 9 hour when he shared the car with Geoff Goddard. The team walked away with the 1993 Overall and Class A championships.     

Alfa Romeo 147 GTA Production Car:

Although not a championship winner the 147 GTA posed a huge threat the E46 3 series’ supremacy. In 2004 Martin Steyn nearly won the championship at the last event at Kyalami. However while passing back markers he clipped the tyre barrier at the synonymous kink and broke his rear suspension handing the Class A title to rival Anthony Taylor. What made the Alfa great was the fact that after missing the first two races it came back to mount a series title challenge. When on song the car was unstoppable, leaving the Alfisti cheering from the stands. It was a great inclusion to South African racing and  a car that will become a collectors in the not too distant future. In 2004 Reghard Roets was drafted into the team, replacing Steyn. He also posed a serious threat to the factory BMW’s and looked likely to overhaul them, however budget issues caught up to the team leading to them having to miss a few races towards the end of the season.



E46 BMW 330i Production Race Car:

The E46 BMW 3 Series won six consecutive Class A titles with different drivers doing the honours. Reghard Roets won in a 328i, while Shaun van der Linde, Etienne van der Linde and Anthony Taylor all won with the 330i. Various entries attempted at knocking the car off its perch, even when production cars was at its peak with the likes of the Nissan 350Z, Audi A4, Ford Falcon and Alfa Romeo’s all trying their best to beat the trio of BMW’s. No other model of car has won from its inceptions and contained its crown for the rest of its racing lifespan. This is quite a statement of the competence of the E46, and therefore it goes down as one of the most sorted race cars to compete in South Africa.

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