Kyalami 9 Hour: Tschops Sipuka and Philip Kekana Lead 1st All Black African Team to Make Motorsport History

Kyalami 9 Hour: Tschops Sipuka and Philip Kekana Lead 1st All Black African Team to Make Motorsport History

  • Tschops Sipuka and Philip Kekana are South African motorsport greats, and alongside Xolile Letlaka the trio will make history this weekend at the Kyalami 9 Hour in a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo
  • Driving under the Into Africa team, Sipuka, Kekana and Letlaka will become the first all-black African driver line-up competing in the Intercontinental GT Challenge
  • Motorsport fans took to Twitter and said Sipuka's racing pedigree could see the legendary driver finish the race in under nine hours

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Tschops Sipuka and Philip Kekana's appearance will make history this weekend as the first all-black team to compete in the prestigious endurance race. Their mettle will be put to the test in a gruelling race against the world's best GT3 drivers as the Kyalami 9 Hour gets underway on Saturday.

Sipuka and the third team member, 49-year-old businessman Xolile Letlaka, are no strangers to one another in the sport. The pair scored two victories in the 2021 South African Endurance Championship in the Huracan GT3 Evo.

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Kekana will make his GT3 racing debut this weekend and hopes the team will inspire young black children to take a bigger interest in motorsport, especially from an engineering perspective.

According to a post on the Intercontinental GT Challenge website, the 2002 Group N title-winning driver said:

“It’s going to be a steep learning curve for me; I have to become accustomed to the car – understand how the machine works and how far I can push it. I was very excited when Xolile called to offer me the drive. I’ve been training hard since then.“
Tschops Sipuka, Philip Kekana, Xolile Letlaka, Kyalami 9 Hour, motorsport, Intercontinental GT Challenge, first all-black team, Stradale Into Africa, Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo
Kyalami 9 Hour: Philip Kekana (L), Tschops Sipuka (M) Lead First All-Black African Team To Make Motorsport History
Source: UGC

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Into Africa didn't have the best start on Friday morning

The trio has had extra time to prepare for the race after organisers SRO postponed the race set for December 2021 due to the Covid 19 pandemic and subsequent travel restrictions for the teams.

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This weekend's race starts at 1pm on Saturday afternoon and ends nine hours later at 10pm. The GT3 lap record at Kyalami is held by Australian Matt Campbell with a time of 1m 42.021s at the 2020 event in the Porsche 911 GT3 R.

The Into Africa team suffered a disastrous pre-qualifying session on Friday after Sipuka crashed into the barriers, mercifully the driver walked away from the incident unscathed. The team rushed to check the car's damage and make sure it was ready for qualifying which starts at 3pm.

Sipuka will look back at his consecutive Polo Cup title wins in 2002 and 2003 and subsequent production car stint with Audi as stepping stones to competing against the world best at his home race. The legendary racer took a seven-year break before returning to GTC racing in 2019, winning the East London round.

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One Twitter user, @Coach_Yanga, who reacted to a story by City Press, said Sipuka is such a good driver he will win the race in under nine hours.

In other car news, Briefly News reported that the new Range Rover was unveiled to local motoring media this week. The latest model will reach showrooms in April 2022 and order books are open to the public. Land Rover announced 19 derivatives will be available at launch and pricing starts at R2,86 million.

Land Rover has fitted the newest model with a 33cm curved touchscreen that incorporates Pivi Pro infotainment technology. Other standout features in the interior include Cabin Air Purification Pro2 and a Rear Seat Entertainment courtesy of 28,9cm HD touchscreens mounted on the rear of the front seatbacks.

Among the choices for buyers will be long-wheelbase versions with a seven-seat option also available. The P530 model is the flagship for now and is powered by a twin-turbo V8 petrol engine with 390kW and 750N.m. The carmaker quotes a zero to 100km/h sprint time of 4,6 seconds and the top speed is 250km/h.

Source: Briefly News

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