BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series

Second shot at BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series glory at Zwartkops

This coming weekend (1-2 March), Zwartkops Raceway will host the second round of the 2024 BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series, and a host of drivers are eager to establish themselves as early title contenders in the 10-round championship.

The BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series at Zwartkops Raceway

Round 2 will mark the third consecutive round to be held at the circuit, which also hosted the 2023 season finale. This weekend, the series will headline the first Extreme Festival event of 2024. However, the venue is the only familiar aspect. None of the reigning class Champions stood on top of the podium in the season opener, and Round 2 will see a few of those who drew first blood not on the entry list, meaning that the hunt for early supremacy is still wide open.

One of those who will be missing in action will be Cape Town’s Nian du Toit, who walked away with a full house of 22 points in a dominant debut in the series and at the circuit. This will allow defending Champion Leon Loubser to diminish the six-point deficit and take the lead. However, this will not simply be a walk in the park. Anthony Pretorius had an impressive debut outing and will look to add to his first podium. So, too, will Fabio Fedetto, now back in Class A. Bob Neil is set to make his first appearance for 2024, following the rebuild of his BMW E92 M3 Turbo after damage sustained in last year’s season finale.

Leon Loubser

Former Class B Champion Andreas Meier heads the defending Champion Nek Makris by six points in Class B, albeit by default, following the second race for Classes B, D & E in Round 1 being halted before the minimum distance for classification was completed. The results for Race 1 were, therefore, duplicated for point-scoring purposes. Carlo Garbini is eager to continue the competitive form he showed in his first race in just over 11 months. Lorenzo Gualtieri, who led Class B at the time of the red flag in the aborted race, is also determined to take his first win of the year. Renier Smith had a challenging outing in Round 1 and will look to return to the form that saw him victorious in the class during the latter part of 2023. Oz Biagioni and Jaco Storm both showed good pace in Round 1 after breaking out of Class C and will look to capitalise on it this weekend. Sav Gualtieri and Dewit Oosthuizen will make their first 2024 appearances.

Nek Makris

Class C produced some of the best battles in Round 1, and with points leader Rob Gearing missing Round 2, it will be a fierce contest for the lead, with only six points covering the top four. Ryan Naicker has impressed in his two outings thus far and trails Gearing by a single point. However, the second race of the season opener showed that Hein van der Merwe and Jan Eversteyn are equally motivated to get to the top of the midfield class. Gary Martins, Alan Hilligenn, Troy Cochran, Bernard de Gouveia, Varish Ganpath, Nick Naidoo and defending class Champion Nicholas Fischer will all search for their first podiums of the year. Reinhardt Miller will debut his BMW E36 328i after the turbocharger failed in the first round.

Ryan Naicker

For Round 2, Class D will see the biggest group of entrants. Like with Classes A & C, points leader Ludavic Caron will not participate, and the competition to find a new leader will be fierce. George Economides, a Zwartkops Raceway specialist, will have his hand up to take the position, but Nicholas Herbst and Cobus Bohmer will also challenge for the position. Like Lorenzo Gualtieri, Neil Reynolds will also be eager to win after leading the aborted second race in Round 1. The likes of Trevor Long, Claudio Jardim, Craig Herbst, Dewald Smith, Ferdi van Staden, Jakkie Storm, Roland Hopkins, Shane Grobler, Stefano Cavalieri and Theuns Nel will all be back in search of points. Deve Rehse is hoping to make his first start of 2024.

George Economides

Zaheer Seedat will look to capitalise on his early lead in Class E over defending Champion Arrie van Heerden. Johan Miller, Farhaad Ebrahim and Zeyad Ismail will also look to continue their inspiring performances. Caren Nienaber will be the sole lady driver, with Mariaan Emmenis’ BMW E30 328i still in the workshop for a new engine fitment. Bertie Rietveld will make his first 2024 appearance. Shaun Dodd, who led Class E when Round 1’s second race was aborted, will also look to open his points account.

Arri van Heerden

The weekend will see three debutants in the series and will only be confirmed in a class after completing their first official timed sessions. Andre de Lange hardly needs an introduction to South African motorsport, having competed in various categories already, but this weekend will see his first outing in the BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series. Eddie Rodrigues and Tihan van Rooyen are the other debutants.

At this early stage of the season, Du Toit, Meier, Caron, and Seedat are tied on 22 points in the overall championship, with Gearing four points adrift.

Saturday’s races will see Classes A, B & C race separately from Classes D & E. All races will be contested over 10 laps and will start at:

10:45 – Classes D & E
13:35 – Classes A, B & C
14:25 – Classes D & E
13:30 – Classes A, B & C

Spectator tickets can be purchased by contacting Zwartkops Raceway before the event and will also be available at the entrance gate on Saturday. All Saturday’s races will also be broadcast live on the BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series Facebook page and 2WheelsTV YouTube channel.

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