BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series

BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series delivers action at Red Star

BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series at Red Star Raceway

The fourth round of the 2024 BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series topped the entertainment on a scorching hot late-autumn weekend (10-11 May) at Red Star Raceway, with a host of winners and a few significant changes to the championship standings.

Classes A, B & C

Classes A, B & C

Saturday morning, Friday’s fastest drivers per class held onto their positions in Qualifying. Class A competitor Ryan Naicker took his maiden Dunlop Pole Position, with Bob Neill for company on the front row. Leon Loubser, the defending series and class Champion, and Fabio Fedetto lined up on the second row. Andreas Meier headed up Class B from defending class Champion Nek Makris. Renier Smith qualified third, ahead of JP Nortje. Oz Biagioni rounded out the Class B grid. Bennie Luyt topped Class C, with reigning Class D Champion Reinhardt Miller in second place. Jan Eversteyn qualified third ahead of Hein van der Merwe and Gary Martins.

Naicker soon took a commanding lead, but his race and day were cut short just after the halfway mark with a mechanical failure. For Meier, the race also took an early dramatic turn following a mistake that saw him drop down the field. Furthermore, the grass picked up during his off-track excursion also led to him struggling with temperature issues in his BMW E36 320iT STC. Miller took the early lead in Class C but was also sidelined after four laps.

Leon Loubser

The battle between Neill and Loubser heated up at the front. While Loubser closed up on Neill in the slower, twisty sections of the 13-turn circuit, the latter had the advantage on the three straights. Neill held Loubser off, despite an off-track excursion, to take his third successive race win. Fedetto, who dropped behind the Class B leaders, finished third in Class A, while Naicker’s five laps saw him complete the minimum required distance to be classified in fourth place.

Smith took a commanding win in Class B, his first of the 2024 season, while Biagioni crossed the finish line as runner-up. Further back in the order, Meier took the final podium spot, while Makris, a lap adrift after losing the lead due to mechanical difficulties, finished fourth.

Renier Smith

Luyt lost the lead to Miller on the opening lap and was passed by Van der Merwe a lap later. The latter went on to take his first win of the season, with Luyt in second place. Eversteyn finished third, with Meier separating him and Luyt at the end. Martins was in contention for the final podium spot, but the race of attrition also saw him drop out of the top five. Bernard de Gouveia collected fourth place, with Andre van Vuuren in fifth.

The second race saw the battle up front between Neill and Loubser continue off the inverted grid. While Neill held the lead momentarily, Loubser assumed the position on the second lap and, this time, with the upper hand in the cat-and-mouse battle, took the win with Neill in tow. Fedetto again completed the Class A podium further back.

Jan Eversteyn

Meier held the early lead in Class B but struggled with intermittent power issues. This saw him lose the place to Smith, who made it two wins for the day. Meier persevered to finish as runner-up, nearly a lap adrift, while Makris’ torrid day on track continued. Still, he rounded out the podium, while Biagioni retired after five laps but classified in fourth place.

Eversteyn had an easy run in Class C to take his first win of the year. Further back, Martins held Van der Merwe and Luyt off for the runner-up spot. Varish Ganpath, who also had a challenging first race, came back strong to conclude the top five.

While Loubser and Neill tied on 18 points for the day, Loubser took the Round 4 Class A victory thanks to a better accumulated time for both races. Fedetto was third. Smith’s full house of points saw him take Class B from Meier with 14 points and Biagioni with 13. Eversteyn’s superior time also saw him break the Class C tie of 16 points with Van der Merwe, and Luyt’s 13 points saw him classified third.

Classes D & E

Classes D & E

Cobus Bohmer claimed his maiden ATS Motorsport Pole Position on Saturday morning to head up Class D from George Economides. Nicholas Herbst secured third, with Roland Hopkins and reigning Class E Champion Arri van Heerden completing the top five. Friday’s fastest driver in the class, Craig Herbst, missed the qualifying session. A flywheel failure on Friday saw him pressed for time to make it onto Saturday’s grid. Tihan van Rooyen continued his Friday pace to head up Class E, with Eddie Rodrigues in second. Matthew Wadeley put the BMW Car Club Gauteng Track Taxi in third place, ahead of Zaheer Seedat and Johan Miller.

An early mistake from Bohmer saw him drop down the field, handing the Class D lead to Economides, who led to the checkered flag en route to his first win in the series away from Zwartkops Raceway. Nicholas Herbst pursued him to the line after clearing Hopkins, who got the better of him off the line. Hopkins crossed the finish line in third place but received a 30-second penalty for jumping the start. This saw Bohmer finish on the podium after making his way back through the pack. Van Heerden held the place earlier but also spun out and rejoined further back in the pack. Shane Grobler, back in his BMW E46 330i following Stefano Cavalieri’s withdrawal, finished fourth, with Ferdi van Staden in fifth.

George Economides

Van Rooyen, a 2024 debutant, took a lights-to-flag win in Class E, the first of his career. Rodrigues looked on course to finish as runner-up, but Miller took the place on the final lap. However, this was not the end of Rodrigues’ problems either. Like in Class D, the final podium spot was also determined by a 30-second jump start penalty, which cost Rodrigues three places. Seedat took third from Wadeley and Grobler, with the latter competing in the BMW E36/7 Z3, initially prepared for Shane Grobler.

Shane Grobler held the Class D lead early in Race 2 before losing it to Hopkins. However, Economides made up places rapidly from the inverted grid and took the lead at halfway to make it two wins for the day, closely pursued by Hopkins. Bohmer held off Nicholas Herbst to make it two third places for the day. Van Heerden also passed Grobler to take fifth place.

Johan Miller

Miller took the early lead in Class E, from where he never looked back en route to his first win. Van Rooyen held second place, but a mistake through the final corner on the last lap saw him lose out on a podium finish, with Rodrigues and Wadeley both making their way through. Fifth place went to Olerato Sekudu, a young Rotax Senior MAX graduate who competed in his second outing.

With 20 points, Economides took the Class D honours for the day, ahead of Nicholas Herbst and Bohmer with 13 and 12, respectively. Economides’ excellent performance on his first visit to Red Star Raceway in the series also saw him take the ITOO Driver of the Day award. Miller’s 18 points saw him take the Class E win from Van Rooyen with 15 and Wadeley with 11.

Championship After Round 4

Andreas Meier

Loubser reclaimed the top spot on the Class A points table from Fedetto. Meier, Martins, and Nicholas Herbst all retained their leads in Classes B through D, while Johan Miller slotted into the top spot in Class E, ahead of Zaheer Seedat, who held the position since the start of the season.

The overall gap between Meier and Herbst remained eight points, with Martins seven adrift. Loubser and Makris are two points behind Martins, tied on 53.

Next Event

The 2024 BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series will reach the midway point of the 10-round championship at Zwartkops Raceway on 7-8 June.

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