From the Driver's Seat

From the drivers seat
Some say he's a racing driver...
Some say he's a mechanic...
Some say he doesn't register speed...


All we know, is that he is Evolution 2 Motorsport's "man of mystery". The 'Gooch' gives us his thoughts all motoring-related.

topCar Article: BMW CSL Batmobile

FOR A MOMENT I’m Hans-Joachim ’Strietzel’ Stuck, full-chat in a CSL Batmobile, arguably the archetypal saloon racer (both car and driver!) from the mid-1970s and a combination that cemented BMW’s reputation as a purveyor of involving, well-engineered performance cars. In my mind’s eye the inside front wheel is pawing the air, the tail squatting and squirming – a stance that is so typical of cars of the era – as I feed in the power while a gaggle of Porsches snap at my heels. In reality I’m guiding a replica Bat fairly gingerly onto the main straight at Zwartkops, feeling out the grip from the Avon slicks and watching the lanky needle of the huge VDO rev counter  climb towards the 7000 mark. The straight-six is really starting to sing and what was an odd, off-beat and almost rotary-like three-into-one exhaust thrum in the pit lane has risen to a stirring and evocative wail.

It sounds brilliant from within the tube-festooned interior, the experience aided by the absence of side windows – something that will be corrected soon. I imagine it sounds equally stirring to a group of interested observers leaning on the pit wall, especially with the dual fat pipes exiting on the right of the car, sending sound waves over the rise of the circuit’s infield and up towards the pits complex. The red line is marked at 8000, but I’d agreed beforehand not to exceed 7000 and achieving lap times is not the object of the exercise anyway. As always, my goal is to get a feel of the machine and appreciate it in context of the era in which it competed.

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The Gooch’s A-Z on essentials for watching a motorsport event

Only a couple more weeks to go, just under two, until the South African Motorsport calendar gets the green light and starts off with a bang. The crème de la crème of events, the Historic Internationals, taking place at Zwartkops on the 2nd and Kyalami on the 9th, gets enthusiasts hearts hitting their proverbial heart rate limiter and their blood filled with 102 Octane. As a track side supporter there is no better feeling that have your ears deafened by the roar of thoroughbred motors, sights filled with the beauty of classic racers, their scent being overtaken by the smell of burnt rubber and hot brakes and their taste buds tingled by a great friend of South African sports lovers, the beloved boerie roll and a cold tall one.

To add value to your viewing and to ensure you gain the maximum from your ticket entry, here are a couple of preliminary must haves before setting up your seat placing for the day:

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Every journey begins with…

... plenty of preparation and planning. If you not one for doing such, then the journey you embark on could turn out to be a complete flop and disaster, or a complete flop and disaster that seemingly worked out reasonably well. However for all motorists traveling over the festive season, safety should be of paramount concern and any flop or disaster surrounding this could result in detrimental consequences.

South African roads claim too many lives on an annual basis. Whether this is due to the state of our roads, driver negligence, driver fatigue or road-worthiness of vehicles not being up to scratch, the fact remains that all road users need to take such facts into consideration and never take such considerations for granted. These solutions start with all vehicle owners who can, through their own actions, ensure they are one step ahead of being a safer entity come busy holiday periods.

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Why is it that one gets it right and the others are always playing catch up?

‘It starts with one thing, but I don’t why, it doesn’t matter how hard you try, keep this in mind, as the design is right …’. Our readers may be wondering why I have chosen to begin this column with lyrics from a band who is coming to South Africa in the upcoming weeks. You guessed it right, these words come from Linkin Park, and the reason for using them relates to the content provided in this story. The situation depicted surrounds the ability of an entity to come up with an idea before anyone else, roll this out and reap the rewards as competitors try play catch up.

I am referring to the feud between different car makers when fighting for market value in a specific car segment. Not just any vehicle type either, the cars that many motorists desire and wish one day to have, if you haven’t already. In the premium vehicle categories manufacturers bring out their basic models, from this point they work their way up the specification and pricing panels until they reach the echelon of their product offerings, their sport or racing type car. These examples showcase the engineering expertise that exists within their mechanical and design departments, where individuals build the bridge between cars raced and those sold for road use.

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