Race Report: Passion for Speed Festival 2017

Paolo on his way to overall victory (Photo: Paul Blackburn)27th and 28th January 2017: The Festival of Speed at Zwartkops Raceway has become the official "start" to the motorsport calendar in South Africa. It is unique in that international motor racers from overseas take on the locals.

Preparations for this weekend start months before, and the Evolution 2 Motorsport team turned out some very professional race machinery, probably more suitable in prestige collector museums, however they were in the thick of the action, challenging and fortunately bringing home a significant amount of silverware. The drivers, Paolo Cavalieri, Jaki Scheckter and Mike Briggs, all legends, drove exceptionally well in what was some difficult race conditions, especially the first heats which were declared as wet.

It was wonderful seeing Mike Briggs driving his biggest rivals original car, the Tony Viana's Winfield BMW E30 325i Shadowline, plus even beating his very own Opel Superboss, beautiful race car too and well driven.

Mike Briggs vs his old Opel Superboss (Photo: Paul Blackburn)Jaki Scheckter drove the magnificent BMW E9 3.0 CSL Batmobile impressively and it was wonderful to see the car, especially in the second race catching and then overtaking various forms of competition.

The sweetest and most meaningful victory, second heat and overall, was for Paolo Cavalieri in the awesome ex-Viana BMW E23 745i Wesbank Modified, the driver and car were on song all weekend, yes first race might not have gone exactly to plan, but the second corrected that in the best way possible: quick and consistent times, pulling away from the turbo-charged Porsche 924 and Ben Morgenrood's Ford Mustang V8, and catching the race leaders 600BHP+ Capri V8, taking then taking the race lead to take the chequered flag in 1st place - the jubilant scenes everyone will remember, and what a testament to the car, but more so the late Tony Viana.

Its always a very busy week and weekend, so many congratulations and thanks must go to our team: Alec, Wade, Jesse, Andrea, Ted Garstang (Bilstein Shocks) and Pablo Clark for the combined synergy and team work.

Thanks also to our partners: BMW South Africa and NGK Spark Plugs South Africa for their support.