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TimesLIVE resumes Toyota GR Cup battle at Zwartkops this weekend

20 April 2022 - 12:16
Representing TimesLIVE Motoring, Thomas Falkiner returns to the Toyota GR Cup grid at Zwartkops this weekend.
Representing TimesLIVE Motoring, Thomas Falkiner returns to the Toyota GR Cup grid at Zwartkops this weekend.
Image: Supplied

It's been more than a month since I flew the flag for TimesLIVE Motoring in the inaugural Toyota GR Cup race held at Cape Town's sun-soaked Killarney International Raceway.

Forming part of the Extreme Festival, it was an immensely enjoyable event and one that allowed me to get somewhat better acquainted with my GR Yaris race car. Although rather different to what I am used to racing (a Lotus 7 is my usual whip), this feisty Japanese hot hatch impressed me with its strong pull, immense grip and all-round stability. Even the brakes were excellent. Fitted with Ferodo DS 2500 pads, I was amazed at how well they coped with the rigours of Killarney, which is a circuit known to punish the old anchors. 

The Toyota GR Cup pack should run closer together at Zwartkops Raceway.
The Toyota GR Cup pack should run closer together at Zwartkops Raceway.
Image: Supplied

All-wheel drive takes a bit of getting used, I'll admit, but it seems like the trick here is to treat the GR Yaris like a front-wheel drive race car — be purposefully more aggressive on corner entry and use the brakes to your advantage. In other words get on them harder and slightly later than you would in a rear-wheel drive car, such as my Lotus, and then use that sudden frontward weight transfer to help the Toyota tuck in towards the apex point.

This technique certainly helped me through corners such as Killarney's "Shell Sweep" and should likewise pay equal lap-time dividends around the much tighter confines of Pretoria West's Zwartkops Raceway, which is where I and the five other motoring scribes selected to represent our titles in this single-make series will be battling it out this weekend. 

Zwartkops Raceway is welcoming spectators back to the grandstands.
Zwartkops Raceway is welcoming spectators back to the grandstands.
Image: Supplied

I know Zwartkops Raceway way better than I do Killarney so I should hopefully be able to run much closer to Cape Town rival Ashley Oldfield, who dominated at the first GR Cup meet. Of course the same applies for fellow Jo'burg residents Mark Jones and Sean Nurse, who are equally more at home around this familiar 2.4km circuit. Nurse, along with Jeanette Kok-Kritzinger and Lerato Matebese, also benefit from recent one-on-one driver coaching with TGRSA Motorsport Development Programme head and multiple SA motorsport champion Leeroy Poulter, which should see them a little bit more on pace. 

Either way it should be another action-packed weekend that will again demonstrate how capable these GR Yaris Cup cars are. As before, we'll be running alongside some of the country's headlining track acts including Polo Cup, Global Touring Cars, SupaCup, V8 Supercars and Extreme Supercars.

Zwartkops Raceway is open to spectators and tickets are R130 for adults and R90 for students. Children under 12 get in the gate for free.


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