Sunday, February 17, 2013

Race cars finding new homes - Audi A4 race cars in SA

By Johan Laubscher

Every race car has a story, a life time of competition, and for many cars a number of owners as well. Most race cars are built for a specific reason and run by their original team and driver. After a car gets replaced it may be sold on to another team to be used again, maybe in the same championship with a smaller private team or somewhere else. This opens up new opportunities and stories for these second-hand vehicles.

Audi A4 B7 testing during 2005 
Today we are going to look at three Audi A4 B7 race cars from South Africa, which have all received new homes and duties after their national racing careers. During 2005 the B7 A4 3.2 quattro race cars debuted in South Africa, competing in the South African Production Car Championship. By 2006 four of these Audis were taking part in what is arguably South Africa's premiere racing category. The B7 was a very potent race car and claimed the 2007 Class A championship with Shaun Watson-Smith and the 2008/2009 titles with Johan Fourie. Three teams campaigned the Audis: Terry Moss Racing, Johan Fourie Racing and VMP Motorsport. VMP retired their car at the end of 2009, but TMR and JFR continued racing with the three remaining Audi A4s. 2010 was the turning point for the faithful old A4. The new generation of turbocharged Class A cars from BMW and Subaru had almost made the normally aspirated cars, like the Audi A4, obsolete over night. With increased pace from their rivals the Audi teams introduced the Audi S4 race cars (during 2011) which went on to claim the 2011 and 2012 Class titles with Michael Stephen.

When the Audi S4 race cars were introduced it sealed the fate for the older Audi A4 cars, but not quite yet. Here is where the story of a race car comes in. After a race car's "official life span," or in other words its original intended purpose, it can move on to other things. In most cases smaller teams normally purchase ex-factory or ex-professional private team cars. This allows smaller teams/privateers to get their hands on previously professional and competitive machinery. It is a natural trend of events which can be seen in championships around the world. 

Michael Stephen - Audi S4 - Terry Moss Racing (2011)

A perfect example of this exchange of ownership can be seen with the ex-Audi Sport Italia Audi RS4 cars in Italy. A new private team, PRS NOS Racing, will use the RS4s in the 2013 Italian Superstars, more about that can be read HERE. Returning to the cars in South Africa, shortly after the introduction of the Audi S4 race cars both Terry Moss Racing and Johan Fourie Racing put their older cars up for sale. Two of the three (one JFR car and one TMR car) were purchased and headed to Cape Town during mid-2011. Here the cars are used very successfully in the regional Midas Clubmans Championship, based at the Killarney race track. The cars also regularly compete in Class A of the South African Production Car championship, when the national series has its Killarney race meetings. The cars have had a number of drivers in Cape Town but they remain in use today.

The one remaining Audi A4 from Terry Moss Racing, the car last used by Michael Stephan at the beginning of 2011, finally found a new home. At the end of 2012 the Zwartkops du Toit family purchased the car from TMR and almost immediately debuted it in the Zwartkops Raceway based Extreme Supercar Championship with driver Jonathan Du Toit. This completed the sale and new life of these three Audi A4 cars which are all still competing today: two in the Western Cape and the other in Gauteng. Whilst the Audi S4 cars remain at the sharp end of the national championship, these older Audi A4 cars can regularly be seen at regional events. 

Below we have included two columns of photos, which show these three Audi A4 race cars in SA. On the left are photos of the cars from when they last competed in the National South African Production Car Championship, and on the right are the cars in their current configuration and driver/owner for the 2013 season.

Johan Fourie - Audi A4 - Johan Fourie Racing
Nieyaaz Modack - Audi A4 
Tschops Sipuka - Audi A4 - Terry Moss Racing
Andre Johnson - Audi A4
Michael Stephen - Audi A4 - Terry Moss Racing
Jonathan Du Toit - Audi A4

More details regarding these Audi A4 and S4 race cars in South Africa can be read in our Audi Motorsport Blog Audi Racing in South Africa article series (Parts 8 to 10)
Audi Racing History in South Africa Part 8: The return of the rings
Audi Racing History in South Africa Part 9: The reign of the A4 quattro
Audi Racing History in South Africa Part 10: The S4 supercharged arrival

Photo credits:
Street Motion