After a 37 year “brake”, the return of the Intercontinental GT Challenge to African soil this past weekend was a roaring success, putting the nation back on the motor-sporting map in world-class style, as countless fans gathered to witness Porsche racing to glory. It was well worth the wait. Thrilling displays, a variety of entertainment and head-spinning music kept the crowds exhilarated throughout three days of heat, tangible tension, family fun, and a cataclysmic Johannesburg summer storm.
The world-famous Kyalami circuit roared with action as the most daring drivers from around the globe fought for the title in the fifth and final leg of this world-class endurance race. An astounding 28 GT cars on the grid including the Audi R8, Bentley, BMW M6, Ferrari 458 & 488’s, Lamborghini Huracan, Aston Martin Vantage AMR, Merc-AMG, Honda Acura NSX and the Nissan GT-R Nismo proved no match for Porsche and Dennis Olsen who was crowned the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered By Pirelli Champion, conquering the elements after a torrential downpour on Saturday night.
Nothing brings people together like sport and music, and so it was at the Kyalami 9 Hour when fans of all ages from the Rainbow Nation were joined by a host of international spectators to watch the race of the year. Live music added even more magic to this historic event with the City of Gold providing a stunning backdrop. Some of South Africa’s greatest artists added pulsating beats to the thundering sound of the engines as Sun El Musician, Mi Casa and Prime Circle brought the stage to life on Friday. On Saturday Shekhinah kept fans captivated whilst Black Coffee wrapped up the festivities in true style with his “Africa Is Not A Jungle” tour. The fearless drivers battled on tirelessly into the night as he and his crew played on, with lightning bolts bursting across the multi-coloured sky.
Continuous action in every direction guaranteed excitement for all, such as a riveting performance by five of South Africa’s finest car spinners pushing the famous BMW 325i to its limits with roll backs, tyre bouncing, side-to-sides and target slides. King Katra from Team Limpopo spun to victory whilst Kayla from the South Side Crew burnt enough rubber to steal second place followed by her team mate Veejaro in third place. Other thrills for all tastes and ages included a classic car parade, daring helicopter flips over the track for a bird’s eye view of the race, pit lane walks, go-karting and two jaw-dropping races performed by the Falken Polo Cup and Motomart VW Challenge teams. This worthy addition to the event was dominated by Jeffrey Kruger who took the crown with Jonathan Livingston Mogotsi just behind him and Keagan Masters comfortably cruising into third place.
Delighted by the success of the event, CEO of the Kyalami 9 Hour Tom Pearson-Adams shared his thoughts: “I am bowled over by the huge enthusiasm of the fans and participants at the event as well as the international acclaim which we have since received, especially as this was the first Kyalami 9 Hour in 37 years. South Africa has proven itself more than worthy of hosting major motorsport events of this calibre and I offer my heartfelt thanks to every person who put in the effort necessary to make this race a milestone in the country’s history. Here’s to many more!”
History was made this weekend at Kyalami as unstoppable action, screaming engines, abundant facilities, uplifting tunes with food and drinks galore provided the perfect family event, with dramatic landscapes and skies framing all the fun and festivities which even a hurricane couldn’t have put an end to! Conceived and organised through sheer determination, the return of the renowned Intercontinental GT Challenge to South Africa after a 37-year hiatus was pulled off in world-class style ensuring a bright future for further international motorsport events in our country.