In April 2016 we were invited to a media conference held at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit. To prepare for the meeting we did a little bit of research on the place. It is shrouded in interesting facts. For instance, it opened in 1961 and was used to host the South African leg of the Formula One Grand Prix Championship until international sanctions were imposed because of apartheid. The original circuit was rated as one of the most dangerous tracks in pro-racing and claimed the death of Welsh F1 driver Tom Pryce. Because of this, bends and turns such as the infamous Leeukop Bend and the Kink were removed.
Skip a couple decades and we’re standing on the revamped, redesigned and ultra-modern Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit. In 2012, the plot went up for auction. Most of those who attended the bidding wanted to bust down the pit building, rip up the tarmac and turn 77 acres of racing history into middle market apartment blocks. This was curbed by Toby Venter of Porsche South Africa, who won the auction with a bid of R205 million. To Toby the 77-acre property is more than just a piece of land with curves and bends of asphalt. For decades he has spent time with his family at the iconic race track and sees it as part of South African automotive history that must be restored and preserved for future generations. That is why events such as the SA Festival Of Motoring are now possible.
With Porsche South Africa’s acquisition of the property, the subsequent revamp of key buildings and a new game plan, Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit has evolved above and beyond the regular race and track days. Events such as Comic Con Africa, the DSTV Delicious Festival and the Baby Show have made Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit their host venue of choice.
For the annual calendar check out this link to their official website.
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