Kyalami 9 Hour race postponement a blessing in disguise

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Xolile Letlaka is the team leader of the first all-black, African team to take part at the Kyalami 9 Hour race. Photo: Supplied
Xolile Letlaka is the team leader of the first all-black, African team to take part at the Kyalami 9 Hour race. Photo: Supplied

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The postponement of the Kyalami 9 hour Intercontinental GT Challenge event, which was scheduled to take place this weekend, is a blessing in disguise for the first all-black, African team to take part in the race.

Tschops Sipuka, one of three members of the Into Africa Mining team, which races a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, said that, although the postponement was a big blow for fans, racing teams and organisers were choosing to look at the bright side.

Sipuka said:

There’s no such thing as enough preparation before a race. What the postponement does is give us time to prepare.

Sipuka and Xolile Letlaka have already shown their potential to win races.

They raced their Huracan GT3 Evo to two victories and a second-place finish from their four starts in this year’s SA Endurance Series.

Letlaka said that, although they were doing well in the SA Endurance challenge, when it became possible for them to enter into the Intercontinental GT Challenge, they knew it was an opportunity they could not let pass.

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The Kyalami 9 Hour was supposed to be the final race of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, which hosted two races this year. The first was the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, which took place at the end of July in Belgium, and the Indianapolis 8 Hours, which took place mid-October in the US.

Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari and McLaren have all taken part in this challenge, which is overseen by SRO Motorsports Group. This year, Audi, Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche also took part.

Philip Kekana, who was brought in rather late into the team, said the postponement will give him more time to prepare for next year.

“I had not had enough time to get physically fit for the race. The postponement allows me time to get in shape and prepare for the race. I will be working out hard throughout December and January to ensure that I am in top shape for the event, which will now take place from February 3rd to 5th 2022,” Kekana said.

“I am very thankful for this opportunity to make history,” he said.

Letlaka said that his team taking part in the race would highlight the work that still needed to be done to get more black people involved in the sport.

He said:

I hope our participation brings more attention to the sport. The more people out there know about the sport, the more they’ll be interested in it.

He added that his wish was to see more black teams join endurance racing.

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Letlaka said that it would get more eyeballs, more sponsorships and more money to develop talent in townships.

“With regards to the differences racing December and February, nothing much changes. For an endurance race, you need to prepare the car for all weather types and all the circumstances you can think of.

For the race in February, we will ensure that we are prepared for the different conditions the day brings,” Letlaka said.


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Sthembiso Lebuso 

Journalist

+27 11 713 9001
Sthembiso.Lebuso@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park

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