Last held officially as a 9-hour race back in 1982, Kyalami will play host to the revival of a great classic endurance race next month, the Kyalami 9 Hour. Run by the masters of the international endurance motor racing scene today, the SRO Motorsport Group, this event on the Highveld of the Transvaal (today Gauteng), will bring the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge to a close.
The classic South African 9-hour endurance race was first run in 1958, and this was won by Ian Fraser-Jones and Tony Fergusson driving a Porsche 356 Speedster Carrera. In fact, a Porsche has won the 9-hour endurance race no less than seven times, starting with the first race in 1958, and culminating with the last time it was run as a 9-hour race when Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass took the chequered flag in 1982 driving a works Rothmans Porsche 956. Porsche then claimed a further three titles when the race was shortened to a 6-hour race and later a 3-hour race. So, the Stuttgart manufacturer has a proud history of endurance wins at the Kyalami circuit.
The Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC) was set up by the Stéphane Ratel Motorsports Group in 2016, and consisted of three endurance events in its first season. Now into its fourth season, this series has been expanded to include five of the world’s biggest GT3 endurance races on as many continents, making it a truly global championship. The IGTC is made up of some established races (Spa, Suzuka, Bathurst), a new race (California) and the revived Kyalami race. Kyalami is thus the second-oldest race on the IGTC calendar, being beaten into second spot by the Spa 24 Hours which enjoyed its 71st running in 2019. This year’s Kyalami race will see no less than 30 top GT3 cars representing eight full-season manufacturers including Porsche, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes-AMG and Nissan. Aston Martin and Lamborghini will also be represented at Kyalami but neither are registered to score IGTC points.