The first round of the Global Touring Car (GTC) championship races into action at Zwartkops Raceway on Tuesday, August 9. For Volkswagen Motorsport, this means four competitors will enter the newest motorsport competition in South Africa.
“Two Volkswagen Jetta GTCs and two Volkswagen Golf GTI GTC Production entries will take the start line at Zwartkops on Tuesday,” says Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport. “This new national championship promises to be an exciting chapter in South Africa’s motorsport history and the Volkswagen brand will be a big part of it.”
The Volkswagen Jetta GTC entries will take part in the main GTC championship which features many common components between the competitors, including the gearbox and suspension while also featuring rear-wheel drive. The Volkswagen Golf GTI GTC Production Car entries are Volkswagen Golf GTIs in race specification.
“With 325kW under the hood and those 2.0 turbocharged engines producing 600Nm of torque, the Volkswagen Jetta GTC is going to be a powerful race car,” says Rowe. “We are expecting close competition from the outset and a tough race day at each of the six rounds this year.”
“The GTC championship creates an opportunity for progression through the ranks in motorsport,” says Rowe. “Many of our national competitors get their start in karting. They then get their first taste of national circuit racing in Engen Volkswagen Cup. They can now look into GTC Production before heading to the main GTC category.”
“Volkswagen Motorsport is following this path to enhance development in local motorsport with competition in Engen Volkswagen Cup, GTC Production and the GTC category going forward,” says Rowe. “Kuda Vazhure currently competes in Engen Volkswagen Cup. We also have Mandla Mdakane in GTC Production and the late Gugu Zulu would have completed the link in GTC. Gugu’s passing has required a change of plan to keep our GTC programme on track.”
“In line with our philosophy of development and progression, we placed the two next logical contenders from the 2015 Engen Volkswagen Cup championship who finished in the top three through a series of both on and off track tests to determine the next driver of the Jetta GTC. After careful evaluation of the results and considering our philosophy in motorsport, we have decided to give Mathew Hodges an opportunity to prove his mettle in the Jetta GTC. His seat in the Golf GTI GTC will be filled by Daniel Rowe.”
Graeme Nathan and Mathew Hodges will have their hands full when they take to the start line at Zwartkops Raceway. The build-up to the start of the GTC has created a great deal of interest and excitement amongst motorsport fans – and teams. The first white knuckle race meeting will set the standard going forward and the Volkswagen Jetta GTC pilots will be itching to make their mark from the outset.
Behind them, in the GTC Production category, the Volkswagen GTIs of Daniel Rowe and Mandla Mdakane will contest their second round of the season. At the first event in June 2016- also at Zwartkops Raceway – Mandla was on the podium and proved the Volkswagen Golf GTI is going to be one of the serious contenders in the GTC Production category.