Life in the fast lane: four of our best racetrack-related motoring features

Thomas Falkiner pilots a Toyota GR Supra at the 2020 Emerald Speed Festival.
Thomas Falkiner pilots a Toyota GR Supra at the 2020 Emerald Speed Festival.
Image: Ryno Fourie

The love of fast cars can be indulged fully only in the ideal conditions with safety nets offered by racetracks. The world has many of these facilities, and many are revered for their technical design, intensity or historic relevance.

As motoring journalists we track test new vehicles but mostly those of the sporting kind. SA has a fair number of these, some active like the legendary Kyalami and Zwartkops in Gauteng  and even small regional ones like Dezzi and Roy Hesketh in KwaZulu-Natal.

Some circuits exist momentarily to satisfy the needs of an event. Below are four moments when our motoring scribes encountered a racetrack behind the wheels of different cars.

Denis Droppa drove the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ at Estoril.
Denis Droppa drove the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ at Estoril.
Image: Supplied

The Lamborghini Aventador SVJ is a superlative sports car, and the Estoril track that is found on the Portuguese Riviera, outside Lisbon, is quite legendary. Group editor Denis Droppa found himself in the middle of this European paella of speed, noise and tarmac. 

 

Thomas Falkiner checks the tyre pressures of his GR Supra at the 2020 Emerald Speed Fest. He eventually had to pull out of the event with food poisoning.
Thomas Falkiner checks the tyre pressures of his GR Supra at the 2020 Emerald Speed Fest. He eventually had to pull out of the event with food poisoning.
Image: Ryno Fourie

The really cool part about race tracks is that they are like hop-scotch, meaning you can scribble them out of anywhere. All you need is a road, cones or discarded tyres, like they do to form the 1.6 km Emerald Speed Fest track at the Emerald Resort and Casino in Vanderbijlpark. Sunday Times' Thomas Falkiner recently took to this makeshift track behind the wheel of the new Toyota GR Supra with entertaining results.

 

The 2019 Suzuki Swift Sport and Abarth 595 Competizione at Red Star Raceway.
The 2019 Suzuki Swift Sport and Abarth 595 Competizione at Red Star Raceway.
Image: Waldo Swiegers

At times it’s not just fun and games when we involve a racetrack. Many car brands market sporty cars, and in executing our duties as motoring journalists, once in a while a race track is needed to test manufacturer claims. Brenwin Naidu used Redstar Raceway in the Delmas area to settle an argument between two junior sports compacts.

 

Phuti Mpyane at the Nürburgring.
Phuti Mpyane at the Nürburgring.
Image: Supplied

Racetracks can be used for many things, including just being there as a wide-eyed spectator or to tick off a big bucket list item. One the most fabled racetracks is the Nürburgring Nordscheleife in Germany. It’s one of the longest, most technically challenging circuits you will ever come across. Phuti Mpyane arrived on its starting blocks from a tourist’s perspective.

 


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