Thursday, January 3, 2013

Audi Racing History in South Africa Part 4: quattro debuts on the track

Audi Racing History in South Africa Part 4 of 10 
quattro debuts on the track

By Johan Laubscher

After dominating the South African rally scene during the 1980's, Audi SA turned its attention to the race track. With the help of potent machinery straight from North America, the scene was set for the quattro domination to continue.  

Wesbank Modifieds: 1989 saw the beginning of the modern Audi circuit racing legacy in South Africa where quattro would again be showcased. Audi Sport Germany entered the American SCCA Trans Am Championship during 1988. The car they entered was the Audi 200 Trans Am with Hurley Haywood winning that 1988 title in the Audi.

One of the Audi 200 Trans Am cars (Chassis #TA4) that was driven by both Hans-Joachim Stuck and Walter Röhrl during 1988 was sent to South Africa for the 1989 Wesbank Modifieds Championship. It competed in Class A driven by Sarel van der Merwe who displayed the dominance of this very advanced race car.

1988 200 Trans Am in North America (AM)

1989 Sarel van der Merwe 200 Trans Am (RP)


Wesbank Modifieds: 1990 again saw Sarel van der Merwe competing with the Audi 200 Trans Am (#TA4) in the Wesbank Modifieds Championship. Sarel van der Merwe was joined in 1990 by a new teammate, Chris Aberdein in a second Audi 200 Trans Am (#TA1), which was the original car used for testing in Europe. Sarel was again in a traditional Audi racing livery with Chris in a red Bosal race livery. During the Goldfields event of 1990 Sarel van der Merwe’s engine seized. Sarel was in the championship hunt and thus he used Chris Aberdein’s red Bosal 200 Trans Am #TA1 for the second race on the day. Despite having the fastest cars, the issues surrounding the fuel regulations meant that the Audi and Ford teams had to withdraw from a few rounds of the championship, and thus neither would win the 1990 Class A title.

1990 Sarel van der Merwe 200 Trans Am (MP)
1990 Chris Aberdein 200 Trans Am (MP)
1990 Sarel van der Merwe in Aberdien's 200 Trans Am at Goldfields (MP)


Wesbank Modifieds: 1991 saw big changes in the Audi SA team, Sarel van der Merwe had left the team, joining the Ford team. Terry Moss replaced Sarel in the Audi team, being joined by Chris Aberdein as his teammate. Both Terry and Chris again raced the Audi 200 Trans Am cars, Terry driving #TA4 and Chris again in #TA1. By the end of 1991 the Class A rookie, Terry Moss, claimed both the Class A and overall championship title.

1991 Terry Moss 200 Trans Am (RP)
1991 Chris Aberdein 200 Trans Am (RP)

GTO development: 1991 would also see a very interesting development. Audi Sport South Africa (Voldi) were planning to develop new race cars for the Wesbank Modifieds Championship based on the 1989 Audi 90 IMSA GTO. One of the 90 IMSA GTO cars was sent to South Africa during 1991 to be used for analysis to develop the new cars in South Africa. The new cars would be Audi S4 (C4) based cars as the Audi 90 was not sold in South Africa. These S4 cars would share many components with the 90 IMSA GTO, including the twenty 20 valve five cylinder engine. The new creation would be known as the Audi S4 GTO.

1989 Audi 90 IMSA GTO in North America (AM)
The 90 IMSA GTO in South Africa during 1991 (The two Audi Trans Am cars in the background) (WG)

Cape Town Regionals: During 1991 Deon de Waal built and raced an Audi spaceframe race car in the Killarney Super Saloons Championship in Cape Town. The car used a monstrous six litre Chevrolet V8 Engine.

1991 Deon de Waal Audi V8 Spaceframe (WG)

Photo sources:
MP = MotorPics from
RP = RacePics from
AM = Audi Media/Press Photos
WG* = Wesbank Modifieds Racing 1986-1994 Facebook Group HERE.
KG* = Killarney - 50 Years On Facebook Group HERE.

Article cover photo =  RacePics from
Bottom cover photo = Johan Laubscher / Tarek Ramchani 

All the images are labeled with an abbreviation within brackets in their caption which indicates the photo source as listed above. 

*May not include the original photo source.