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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Local Team Pays Homage to 1969 Kyalami 9H Winners

Team Perfect Circle’s unique program pays homage to 1969 Kyalami 9H winners…

Photo: Team Perfect Circle

One of the three local South African teams at this weekend’s Kyalami 9 Hour is a Porsche 997 GT3 R entered as Team Perfect Circle, paying homage to the car that won the same race 50 years ago.

The No. 09 Porsche will be shared by Andre Bezuidenhout, Franco Scribante and Silvio Scribante in Saturday’s long-awaited return to the historic Kyalami 9 Hour race.

The story behind the team, making its debut this weekend, is a historic one that dates back to 1969, when David Piper and Richard Attwood took Team Perfect Circle’s No. 9 Porsche 917 K to victory at the Johannesburg circuit.

This year’s initiative was put together by team owner/driver Bezuidenhout, who this weekend fulfills a dream that has taken him 50 years to accomplish.

“I was here in 1969 when David Piper drove around the track on the Friday evening and I stood here as an eight-year-old boy and it just inspired me to look at motorsport,” Bezuidenhout told Sportscar365.

“I thought these were heroes, current-day heroes for me. I pursued a career in law and I’m a barrister by profession but I got involved in the administration of motorsport early on, and I’m currently sitting as an FIA judge in the appeals court in Paris.

“I worked my way into the administration of motorsport and I also had an amateur career in racing but nothing at the level of this.

“It was a bucket list item when I heard that [the Kyalami 9H] is coming back, and we’ve been deprived of international motorsport for such a long time, so I put the team together and asked my friends Franco Scribante and Silvio to race with me.”

By way of completing a ‘perfect circle’, Piper will be present as a guest of the team this weekend, and Bezuidenhout has secured a number of the same sponsors from the 1969 car, including Coca-Cola.

“It’s the first race in recreating the name of Team Perfect Circle 50 years after the last event, which is 1969 to 2019,” he explains.

“The moral of the story is, don’t give up on your dreams even if it takes you 50 years to make it!”

The chassis being used by the team this weekend is already a decorated one, having taken David Asburn and Trackspeed to the 2010 British GT Championship title.

It’s believed to also be the same car that Richard Westbrook drove alongside Gregor Fisken at a number of British GT races in 2013, including a win at Rockingham.

The car was since upgraded to 2014 spec and is being run by UK-based Simpson Motorsport this weekend.

Additional IGTC Races in the Works

After debuting this weekend, Bezuidenhout has plans to run his 997 GT3 R at additional Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli races over the next couple of years.

“The car is eligible until 2021 so we can effectively run it until then,” he explained.

“We’ve reached out to the SRO and they are very happy that we’re going racing so we would like to do Bathurst, [Suzuka], Silverstone.

“If it goes well this weekend, God willing, we will be there next year and tick each one of those races off.

He says the most likely plan would be to compete in next year’s Suzuka 10 Hours and return for a second attempt at Kyalami next November.

“We like the SRO races, they’ve got a fantastic platform with the top GT racing in the world.

“We find ourselves comfortable here so let’s see how it goes and then we’ll participate in the future.

“We’ll be on Suzuka next year because that is in the middle of the year. If we do that, we can still come back to Kyalami.

“The thinking is, we will do our home race plus one race away. Suzuka next year, and then the next year (2021) we’ll try and do Bathurst.”

Photo: Deon Smit

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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