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Press Release: 4th National Championship!

Backdraft Racing gains National Championship status Fourth National Series for SAES

Backdraft Racing has been granted National Championship status for 2024 by Motorsport South Africa and will contest the South African Endurance Series (SAES) as the National V8 Roadster Championship with 15 cars expected to make the start at each of the six rounds.

This adds another feather to the SAES cap, giving the series its fourth National Championship category to run alongside the SA GT Championship, South African Endurance Championship, and the Index of Performance Championship.

Backdraft Racing is headed up by former South African Driver’s Champion and Daytona 24-Hour winner, Tony Martin who says: “The idea of identical cars in a cost-contained formula evolved as a concept to add a new dimension to the SA Endurance Racing Series and being granted national status is confirmation it has worked.

“It is not a gimmick, and the cars are all prepared to within a couple of horsepower of each other and are identical in every other way. They are extremely competitive, and over the past couple of years we have constantly refined and improved the cars in terms of reliability and the cost to run them – and all 12 of our cars finished the Nine Hours of Kyalami at the end of last year.

“I am extremely excited with this development, and we hope to be able to grow the field and there is quite a lot of interest coming from foreign competitors.”

The South African Endurance Racing series consists of six events – two rounds at Kyalami and one each at Red Star Raceway, Aldo Scribante and East London – and are a mix of between three and 5-hour races except for the final at Kyalami, that will be a marathon 9-hour event.

Backdraft Racing Manager (and cousin to Tony), Brian Martin adds: “This will add a whole new dimension to the series and hopefully will attract more people to come and race in our class with the rest of the endurance field.

“The Backdraft Roadsters are open-top racers powered by a 300 hp Lexus V8 engine driving the rear wheels and they are raw, powerful, and purpose-built race cars. There are no electronic aids such as traction control or anti-lock braking. They are true driver’s cars.”

For the 2024 season some of the cars will run with a closed roof and Tony Martin says: “We will run comparisons between the open top and closed top and then get a consensus from the various teams, but I think the closed top has a really nice look and feel to it.”

The cars that will contest the national series were previously classified as Class E. That now falls away to be replaced by the Roadster designation while the other classes (A, B etc) running highly modified versions of the Backdraft cars will continue unchanged.

CEO of the Southern African Endurance Series – Wayne Riddell says: “This is just reward for the hard work put in by the Martin’s. When we took over the series, Roger Pearce told me the Backdraft Roadsters were a good bunch of guys that need some small refinement to become a great class. I took this information to heart and have worked closely with the Durban based guys and they have harnessed my commitment and delivered without failure.”

Riddell went on to say: “Our series needs to be the starting point for young South African racers, who want to follow in the footsteps of the Van Der Linde’s brothers, Kelvin and Sheldon and Jordan Pepper. We currently have the likes of Stewart White, Mikaeel Pitamber and Kwanda Moekona, all racing in our series, as well as competing in endurance races overseas.

“I have been informed that we have other youngsters who have raced with us last year, also racing in Europe this year. This is where I think the National V8 Roadster National Championship class will come into its own.

“The Backdraft stable now offers a reliable car at cost effective pricing to youngsters who want to enter the series, and now that it is a National Championship Class, I expect to see an increased demand for the Roadster cars.”

Endurance racing has always been an integral part of South African motorsport from the very early days at long-gone circuits such as Grand Central to the Springbok Series of the 70’s and, of course, the Nine Hour that attracted top teams and drivers from around the world.

The SAES series has grown from very humble beginnings 14 years ago under the guidance of Roger Pearce and in 2021 the SA GT class joined his stable the following year when Wayne Riddell took over the helm of the series under the new ownership, he was able to secure that the SA GT category became a national championship followed by the Overall Endurance and Index Of Performance the following year. The addition of the V8 Roadster class now makes it 4 National Championship classes in the Series.

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