It has been four weeks since Volkswagen Motorsport’s new Golf 8 GTI made its debut at the Red Star Raceway near the Mpumalanga town of Delmas and the team is now ready to take on the competition during the next round of the shortened 2020 Global Touring Cars (GTC) series. Round 2 will be hosted at Port Elizabeth’s iconic Aldo Scribante circuit, only a few kilometres down the road from the home of Volkswagen as well as the headquarters for Volkswagen Motorsport.
“Although our pair of Golf GTI race cars are based in Johannesburg, it is always special to race in Port Elizabeth at the home of Volkswagen,” commented Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport. Although there won’t be any spectators present at the circuit, the team will hope to reward their loyal fans nonetheless and if the car’s debut outing was anything to go by, the fans won’t be disappointed. Volkswagen factory driver Daniel Rowe raced to a victory, finished in third place as well as a close second in each of the Red Star races respectively. His performance was enough to claim overall victory on the day. Teammate and defending champion Keagan Masters finished second in race one and followed that up with a victory in race two before he was forced to withdraw from the day’s final race due to a faulty power steering unit.
“We had good pace throughout the weekend,” said Daniel Rowe in preparation for the next round. “As is always the case in racing, there is still room for improvement. The car is still new and we are still learning from it, but the team has been working hard since race one and we will be ready to take on the competition in Port Elizabeth.”
Teammate Masters shared Rowe’s sentiment; “Both Daniel and I tasted victory first time out with the new car and it will be our aim to at least repeat the feat in Port Elizabeth. If we get everything right, there should be no reason why we can’t be on the top steps of the podium again.”
Both Masters and Rowe are battling for race victories and the honour that comes with it. Unfortunately, due the COVID-19 pandemic and shortened season as a result, the 2020 GTC series will not have enough races in order to declare a champion. “The MSA rules and regulations state that for a series to be declared an official championship, it must have at least four race meetings. This will not be the case for the top GTC cars in 2020 so although we want to win each race, our focus is already on the 2021 season,” added Mike Rowe.
The second category of the GTC series or the SupaCup as it is known will however reach the required amount of four race meetings before the end of 2020. This new-for-2020 category is proving hugely successful with both competitors and race fans alike. So far in 2020, it has been a tough battle between two former Polo Cup champions in the form of Bradley Liebenberg and Jeffrey Kruger, with Volkswagen Motorsport's Jonathan Mogotsi and newcomer Saul Hack in hot pursuit. Liebenberg currently has a slight lead of just three championship points over Kruger with Mogotsi and Hack tied for third, a further 23 points adrift.
Friday, 30 October will see a number of practice sessions at Port Elizabeth’s Aldo Scribante circuit with qualifying and all the races scheduled for the Saturday of the event which will still be run with COVID-19 restrictions in place. This means that no official spectators will be allowed, but fans from across South Africa will be able to follow all the action live on Volkswagen’s social media platforms.