Passion for Speed: local speedster to race his 1972 Escort at Zwartkops Raceway, Pretoria

2011-01-20 00:00

DRIVING a 1972 Escort Mark 1 fitted with a two-litre Ford Pinto engine, Pietermaritzburg racing enthusiast Mike Schmidt will be one of the KZN entrants at the upcoming Passion for Speed international car and motorcycle race.

Schmidt, who is no stranger to motor sport after being involved in racing for the past 25 years and competing at Passion for Speed for the last three, will be enter in both Class C (for pre-’74 modified saloon cars) and the historic Tans-Am series in his “fully race-prepped” car.

Bought by Schmidt as a “hollow shell”, the Escort has spent the past six months in and out of Bruce’s Panel Shop and now clocks over 200 km per hour with excellent handling capabilities. “This series and this event may be geriatric in terms of the age of the competing vehicles, but the same definitely does not apply to speed. The racing is extremely competitive with lots of opportunity to overtake, and is really thrilling to watch,” explained Schmidt.

Adding a bit of fun to the car, Schmidt has had the Escort sign-written, with the bonnet sporting a branding images from Frankie’s Soft Drinks, the company he co-owns with his wife Paula. “We also decided to go with the Sharks colours for KZN, just to wind up the Pretoria crowd a bit,” he laughed.

The Passion for Speed event, now in its 10th year, will take place on January 29 and 30 at Zwartkops raceway near Pretoria.

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