- Toyota will field three cars in this year's GTC Championship.
- Veteran racer Michael van Rooyen seems determined to win the cup.
- A newcomer, a 16-year-old driver, joins the team as a wingman.
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"Last year was tough, but we clearly had the pace to fight for the title," says Michael Van Rooyen. "This year, we're taking a slightly different approach, and I'll have two wingmen to assist in my quest to secure the GTC title."
Toyota Gazoo Racing SA is all set to light the wick on its assault on the 2022 motorsport season this weekend when the opening round of the Global Touring Car (GTC) championship takes place at the Killarney International Raceway in Cape Town. The 2021 season saw Toyota Corolla driver Michael van Rooyen slug it out at the head of the field, and the Rustenburg businessman will be aiming to grab as many points as possible early in the new year.
Three Corollas will race in GTC this year
For 2022, the Toyota track racing team adds a third Corolla to the mix that Saood Variawa will pilot. The sixteen-year-old racer has moved into the top class of South African track racing as part of the Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa squad and is expected to impact the team's results right from the start.
Mandla Mdakane returns to pilot the other Corolla out of three. However, Toyota notes that the Johannesburg-based racing ace struggled with reliability and setup issues throughout the 2021 season and found it challenging to offer support to Van Rooyen during critical moments.
Seven chances for success
The 2022 GTC season consists of seven rounds, with the opening event at Cape Town's tricky Killarney circuit. Next up are races at Zwartkops in Centurion, Aldo Scribante in Port Elizabeth, Red Star Raceway in Delmas, and the East London Grand Prix Circuit, before returning to Killarney for the penultimate round. Interestingly, Kyalami does not feature. The season will end on October 15 2022, with the final round at Zwartkops.
"We are excited to welcome Saood to the team," concludes Van Rooyen. "He is young, dynamic and swift, and despite his age, he has already amassed a wealth of track experience. It is going to be exciting to have him as a member of the squad."
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