South Africa embraces V8s in 2001

Following the collapse of the country's 2 litre series last year, South Africa will feature V8s at the forefront of their three major 'tin-top' series this year. Opel Motorsport SA, who ran a trio of Vectras in 2000, announced today they would...

Following the collapse of the country's 2 litre series last year, South Africa will feature V8s at the forefront of their three major 'tin-top' series this year.

Opel Motorsport SA, who ran a trio of Vectras in 2000, announced today they would field two DTM-inspired Opel Astra Coupes in the existing Wesbank V8 Series. Currently under construction at their modern Port Elizabeth facility, the space-frame cars will be powered by Chev 5.7 litre V8s producing around 500bhp. Opel hopes that their re-entry into the stalwart Wesbank series will entice other manufacturers to join them.

A Holden Commodore SS, badged as a Chevrolet Lumina, will debut in the well supported Midas Group N Production Car series, going head-to-head with the Ford Credit Falcon XR6 at the pointy end of the field.

Launched last year, SA's other all-V8 formula, SASCAR will also have a busy schedule. The tightly regulated NASCAR-copy formula features identical, locally built 5.7 litre cars.

Kyalami's September 8 fixture features all three categories together, making a veritable 'V8aganza' for lucky Johannesburg race-goers. The reborn Zwartkops circuit in neighbouring Pretoria gets two V8 dates as part of SA's motorsport renaissance.

Current Opel works driver and 1992 Wesbank Champion, Deon Joubert, who visited Canberra's debut V8 Supercar event last year is thrilled to be back behind the wheel of a RWD V8 again. Joubert will also campaign his new SASCAR.

"South Africans will get a real dose of V8s this year and I'm going to have a ball!" said the exuberant Capetonian who makes no secret he wants to race an Aussie V8 Supercar one day.

"Along with NASCAR, Australian V8 Supercars are the peak of V8 saloon car formulas. If I can't drive one in Australia, then we'd better invite them to come race here!"

-Rod Eime

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