2021 Kyalami 9 Hour is all set to re-ignite South Africa's passion for motorsport

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Night racing action from last year's Kyalami 9 Hour  Image: SRO
Night racing action from last year's Kyalami 9 Hour Image: SRO
  • Kyalami 9 Hour confirmed for 2, 3 and 4 December 2021 in Gauteng.
  • Event will accommodate limited on-site spectators due to Covid-19 protocols.
  • More than 100 local racing participants involved in various support races.
  • For motoring news, go to Wheels24

Last year, we had to watch from the sidelines (at home on our smartphones and laptops) while the world's best endurance racers pushed the ragged edge at the Kyalami 9 Hour in Johannesburg. Covid-19 lockdown put the brakes on any spectator attendance in 2020, so while it was nice to have some international racing in Mzansi, it was disheartening that motorsport fanatics couldn't attend to soak up the smells of gasoline and burning rubber in person.  

In 2021, you will be able to scream and shout to your heart's content for your favourite drivers and teams at the track. It's just been announced that the final round of this year's Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli, the Kyalami 9 Hour, will take place from December 2 to 4 and that spectators will be allowed. The event, hosted in partnership with the City of Johannesburg (CoJ), makes a welcome return after successful rounds in 2019 and 2020.

Audi is currently leading the 2021 IGTC GT3 Manufa
Audi is currently leading the 2021 IGTC GT3 Manufacturers Championship Image: SRO

Which team will you be supporting in the 2021 Kyalami 9 Hour? Drop a comment below or send us an email here.

Rich history

The 9 Hour race boasts a rich history at Kyalami. The first race was hosted at the circuit’s inaugural meeting held on 4 November 1961. 2021 marks the 60th Anniversary of the opening of the iconic and internationally renowned circuit. The event has been selected by the City of Johannesburg as a partner event with the aim of restoring international sporting events to the city, severely disrupted by the Covid 19 Pandemic.

Hosting of the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli, this iconic Kyalami 9 Hour Race, in the City with spectators allowed is said to be a timely boost to revive the South African economy that has been ravaged by the Coronavirus pandemic.

"We are delighted that the City of Johannesburg has been afforded the opportunity to host a major international motorsport event to affirm Jo'burg as a world-renowned host and South Africa as a tourist destination. All over the world, cities are competing for the attention of a finite number of investors, it’s very exciting for us as the City of Johannesburg to be able to showcase our amazing City and be able to let the world know we are open for business," says Bongi Mokaba, City of Johannesburg's director of event management. 

Kyalami 9 Hour
2020 Kyalami 9 Hour

"I am delighted the City of Johannesburg has committed to the Kyalami 9 Hour for another three years. The event is South Africa's most significant active motor race and one that is also steeped in history. As such, it has quickly become a genuine highlight of the 100+ races SRO Motorsports Group helps to stage annually, as well as a significant component of Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli's global calendar. I have no doubt that 2021's IGTC season finale will prove just as memorable this December as the series' two previous visits to Kyalami did in 2019 and ’20," adds Stéphane Ratel, SRO Motorsports group founder and CEO.

Thrilling finale

"As the local partner for the final stage of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, we are excited to be partnering with the City of Johannesburg for the next three years. Having the host city come on board as part of the team to help build the 'City of Johannesburg Kyalami 9 Hour' is very positive for the race and events in general. Last year, we successfully delivered a Covid-free 'race-only' event with 500 international participants returning home with Covid-negative tests. This year with the support of our partners we are looking to reintroduce the fans to the event with limited attendance in line with government directives and following all necessary Covid protocols to ensure we act in the best interest of everyone," says Sthe Mabanga, spokesperson for the 9 Hour Pty Ltd.

Kyalami 9 Hour
Kyalami 9 Hour

The event will once again draw some of the top international GT Race Teams and Drivers to Kyalami. As the 9 Hour is the final race of the 2021 Championship the battle for title honours amongst the various participating manufacturers is expected to provide thrilling racing. It is also expected that several local teams, currently competing in the South African GT Championship, will enter the 9 Hour race adding local flavour to the event. The full entry list is expected to be released shortly.

Energising racers

This year's Kyalami 9 Hour will also see four local formulae competing as support races with many championships also to be decided at Kyalami. The support race categories include Global Touring Cars, the Volkswagen Polo Cup, BMW Racing Series, and Mobil 1 V8 Supercars.

Approximately 100 local entries are expected for the support races, which will undoubtedly add to the on-track action. Practice days for both the 9 Hour and the support races begins on Thursday 2 December with support races and official qualifying for the 9 Hour set for Friday 3 December.

A traditional mid-day start is planned for the Kyalami 9 Hour race itself on Saturday 4 December. The Soweto Drift Academy will once again host an off-track spinning competition adding to the local content and variety of the event.

Kyalami 9 Hour green porsche
Image: Clavern Van der Post

As the announcement by government allowing limited spectator access to sporting events was recently announced, plans are currently being put in place to accommodate a limited number of spectators at the event. These plans, once finalised, will be formally announced with online ticket sales opening soon after in the coming weeks.

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